With just two weeks to go until this year’s FEI EQ Life Houghton International Horse Trials, the final preparations are being made so that everything is ready for competitors, horses, trade stands and spectators alike.
Reigning World Champion Sandra Auffarth is bringing three horses to Houghton, one running in each class from CICO3* down to CCI1*.
In fact entries are truly international, with Andrew Hoy and Christopher Burton heading the southern hemisphere charge, Bettina Hoy and Dirk Schrade backing up Sandra for Germany, Andrew Heffernan representing the Netherlands, Vittoria Panizzon a serious challenger for Italy and Toshiyuki Tanaka flying the flag for Japan to give a flavour of the line up.
The strength of international entry is in part because Houghton International hosts the only British leg of the FEI Nations Cup series, in which Great Britain has been so successful. Houghton also provides the venue for the Askham Bryan National Under 21 Championships, where the stars of the future vie to catch the selectors attention.
Away from the horses, Houghton is hosting the Barking Bugle Dog Agility Show on the Saturday and Sunday and there is the usual raft of show jumping classes, both affiliated, unaffiliated and pony club, and team dressage.
The Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes provide the perfect show case for four- and five-year-old ‘would-be’ top class eventers and, new for this year, Houghton also hosts a qualifier for the new Arena Eventing competition, where successful riders can win their ticket to a final either at Blair Castle or Blenheim Palace in September.
You can even avoid the traffic each morning by booking a place in the official campsite, or reserve your spot in the picnic parking area by the water jump.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the fabulous support of our loyal sponsors, from EQ Life and the EDP, through Askham Bryan, Horsezone, Equitrek, Newmarket Equine Hospital, Sema Lease, Ben Burgess and Suzuki ATV, along with our equally loyal fence sponsors.