The rain just about stayed away, and both visitors and competitors enjoyed a fantastic two days of sport, family entertainment and fun at Belsay Horse Trials last weekend. So, as organisers Laura and Peter de Wesselow upscaled the event in preparation for going international next year, it was in every sense of the word, a dry run for 2020!
Laura de Wesselow commented: “This year’s event was as action packed as ever, with a full roster of entries and some very exciting riders including several Badminton 2019 contenders, Ben Hobday, Wills Oakden, Hazel Towers and Harry Mutch. Belsay has the support of some fantastic sponsors, led by Barbour, and we were thrilled that Dame Margaret Barbour attended the event on Saturday with friends and family. The Womble Bond Dickinson sponsored Show Jumping Arena was surrounded by more than 40 trade stands, an array of food traders and a craft tent, as well as children’s fun fair rides and Go Karts, which were a great attraction for families.”
Belsay welcomed a host of well-known local, regional and international event riders. Team Hobday, led by husband and wife Ben and Emma, enjoyed success with a lorry load of horses both days, including two that are heading to Bramham this weekend: Shadowman (Ben) and Shadow Puppet (Emma), who were 1st and 3rd in the most prestigious class of the weekend, the Open Intermediate Section G class. Emma also won the BE100 Section O on Shadow Star Quality.
Charlotte Parry-Ashcroft from North Wales made the long journey worthwhile with two wins: with Harthill Storm in the Novice Section A, and on Will Jack B King in the Novice Regional Final Section E, which qualifies for the Novice Championships at Gatcombe in August. Lucinda Atkinson, from North Yorkshire, was 4th in the NRF on PRF Jaguar Elite and, as the rider closest to the optimum time, won the Mark Halliday Trophy.
The Auchindenny Carnegie Trophy for the Highest Placed Northumbrian Rider in the Novice Sections went to local rider Pip Nixon, who was second in the Novice Section B on PRF Divo Mail. The section was won by well-known regional rider, James Adams riding Mrs Tracy Milner’s Bejewel.
Scottish International Rider Wills Oakden was also in the ribbons at Belsay, winning the Intermediate Novice Section D on Cracker Jack II, with Ben Hobday in second on Mile High.
Wills was also second in the Novice Regional Final on MacgregorsCooley, and scored another second with Cooley Cadbury in Intermediate Section F, which was won by Alexandra Farrar-Fry from West Yorkshire on Santiago S.
Well known local amateur rider Stephen Rankin rode several horses over the weekend, scoring a win on Sunday with Cooley Empire in the BE90 Section N. Italy’s Pietro di Marchi won BE90 Section M on Legal Graffiti, while local rider Laura Fenwick from Angerton won BE90 Section L on Rustenberg Diamond.
One of the most popular winners of the weekend was Mark Jackson from Meldon, who won BE100 Open Section Q on Linnel Dance Again, owned by the late Bobby Charlton and his wife Sarah. Bobby, who helped run Hexham Horse Trials for 25 years, died recently and Mark dedicated the win to this great man.
Full results are available on the Belsay Horse Trials website.