Final preparations are underway for the 2018 edition of the year’s Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials, 7 – 10 June and the event’s main spectacle, Ian Stark’s spectacular cross-country courses. Craftsman David Evans, who has been selected to construct the fences for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, has brought Ian’s ideas to life with his amazing chainsaw skills for the riders to tackle on Saturday 9 June. Around 180 of the world’s best horse and rider combinations will bravely tackle the challenge set by Ian, himself a former Bramham winner, over three competitions; the main event, the Equi-Trek CCI3*, the British Horse Feeds U25 CCI3* and the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC3*.
The brave combinations will set off from one of the highest points in the park just above the stables and the Yorkshire Post Garden at fence one gets them started and the Generator Power Roll Top at two is another fence to get them in a nice rhythm before the third, the brightly coloured Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream Cones; chocolate or strawberry, you decide!
At four, the Question Combination is an accuracy test and those in the hunt for a place on the leaderboard won’t be wasting time with the alternative. The British Equestrian Trade Association Oxer requires a huge leap but perfectly sets up for a course highlight fence six, the Equi-Trek Round House which is a real favourite with spectators and makes for great photos.
Off into the expanse of the park and the first crossing of Lord Bingley’s Walk, the riders meet the Nidd Steel Stick Pile at seven before heading into the woods for the Woodhead Seeds Corners which have gained ditches underneath to scare the riders – but the horses shouldn’t have time to notice. The impressive Powa Services Hanging Keyhole is their exit from the woods at nine before a run down hill brings the first opportunity to get their feet wet, the Suregrow Kidney Ponds which Ian says “requires bold riding with a touch of ‘seat of your pants’ accuracy” – bound to be popular with the spectators.
Ian’s favourite fence, the Joules Clothing Leap of Faith takes riders back through Lord Bingley’s and on to the TurmerAID Spinney combination which require accurate riding, so time to set up and get the horses listening is required.
The Harrington’s Dog Kennel Owl Table is a breather fence before the Hollow. Ian’s been kind with a slightly easier way out, but the jump in is as problematic as ever. The KBIS Either Or needs carful jumping before some difficult terrain to the Komfi Bedstead which is a tricky little number. Then onto the main water complex, the Womble Bond Dickinson Pond where there’s a number of routes to give riders the choice based on how their steeds are going, how much petrol is in the tank and just how much they want their name on the rostrum.
A new log over a gaping ditch exits the water complex on the way to the Speedi-Beet Double Feat which is a real accuracy test being extremely narrow, not much space between the flags here. The Carter Jonas Sun and Moon combination is bright and inviting but the up and down terrain may cause a few ups and downs for riders not riding the line correctly.
Downhill to a straightforward hanging log before the land begins to climb and the riders have one last test at the Land Rover Above and Beyond. Before the final fence, the Bishop Burton College Seat, brings the welcome site of the finish around ten minutes after setting off.
Event Director Nicholas Pritchard reports that the park is coming alive ahead of Wednesday 6 June when most of the horses arrive on site; “It was a very wet winter and spring but the recent warm, dry spell has transformed the park to a green utopia. The estate team have been mowing and watering to ensure the best possible going for the horses and the main arenas are looking stunning. With just over a week to go, the marquees are going up, miles of string is being staked, fences are being dressed, and we’re nearly ready to welcome everyone to our little slice of Yorkshire for four fantastic days of great action and entertainment.”
Get ahead! By booking your Bramham tickets in advance you’ll save some money and avoid the queues on arrival! Early booking discounts on entry tickets and parking add up to make great savings but hurry – the online box office closes at midnight on 5 June. Members’ passes and season camping packages are selling fast so it you require either of these great value offerings, get booking now. Visit www.bramham-horse.co.uk to secure your tickets today! Tickets and car parking will of course be available on the gate to purchase any day – cash sales only.