Everyone enjoyed the sunny start to the day in Devon for the jumping phases at Bicton International Horse Trials. Three classes took to the cross country course while the showjumping got underway in the main arena for the TopSpec CCI4*-S.

The finest of margins separate first and second place in the Symonds & Sampson CCI3*-L with Gemma Stevens picking up 0.4 time penalties meaning that as Friday’s overnight leader, she slips down to second place. Yasmin Ingham and Gypsie Du Loir take the lead to head into the final day of competition tomorrow for the showjumping. This 8-year-old mare is owned by The Sue Davies Fund, so named after the sad passing of part-owner of several of Yas’ horses, Sue Davies in 2023. Janette Chinn, Sue’s daughter, also part owns the mare who started her eventing career with the Cheshire based former World Champion in 2022. Yas is no stranger to success with a ‘Du Loir’ horse from breeder Pierre Gouyé, her World Championship horse being Banzai Du Loir.

Next to go cross country around the Helen West designed course were the Western Counties Equine Hospital CCI3*YR-L competitors. Leader after Thursday’s dressage, Anna Price and Keep Happy regained their lead from Ivy Fisher and Global Promise who picked up 15 penalties on the course. Hot on Anna’s heels are Joshua Levett and This Ones On You, followed by Isabelle Cook and Mexican Law. Bedfordshire based Anna and 9-year-old Pepsi, as the mare is known at home, stepped up to three-star level earlier this month with a top ten finish at Osberton.

The CCI2*-L class is sponsored by Mitchell & Webber, proud promoters of renewable liquid fuels to replace conventional fossil fuels across the South West, “We are delighted to be supporting Bicton as we have shared values in equestrian sports with social and environmental commitments,” said Robert Weedon from Mitchell & Webber. This class was the last to take on the cross country today, where the top 30 all went clear within the time, the course proving to be a great experience for these younger horses. As a result, the top of the leader board remained unchanged with Tom McEwen and Shannondale Arnold holding onto the lead with 26.5 ahead of Laura Collett on Balancero in second on 26.7 and Ros Canter on Silvesters Finesse in third on 26.8. Tightly bunched together at the top, it will be all to play for tomorrow, with none of the top three able to have even one pole down in order to maintain their position.

Meanwhile, the TopSpec CCI4*-S showjumping phase was in full swing in the Western Counties main arena. The top eight go into the final day of competition on their dressage score, having all gone clear within the time. The top two remain unchanged from yesterday with Laura Collett and London 52 still on track for their campaign for another win having taken the title last year. Laura has partnered Dan, as he is known at home, to success on the biggest of stages including 5* wins at Luhmühlen in 2023, Badminton in 2022 and Pau in 2020, plus a top 10 finish at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

Tomorrow promises to be a final day full of thrilling eventing action as well as a packed schedule of demos, great shopping and fantastic food and drink – join us for some fun, book your tickets here.

Dressage continued for the second day at Bicton International Horse Trials with all four overnight leader boards being shaken up.

Laura Collett took the lead from early in the day on Balancero in the Mitchell & Webber CCI2*-L, but after the lunch break, fellow British team member Tom McEwen squeezed into the lead by 0.2 penalties. Riding James and Jo Lambert’s Shannondale Arnold, Tom piloted the Irish bred gelding into pole position with a score of 26.5 which was unbeaten for the rest of the day. Having only taken the reins last year, the pair stepped up to 2* level earlier this month at Osberton.

It didn’t take long for 19-year-old Ivy Fisher and Global Promise to put their stamp on the leader board in the Western Counties Equine Hospital CCI3*YR-L. The pair who are based with Eliza Bell, where Ivy is a working pupil, achieved a score of 25.8. Their performance was enough to take a significant lead of 2.9 penalties ahead of overnight leaders Anna Price and Keep Happy who sit in second place as the dressage phase concludes.

In the Symonds & Sampson CCI3*-L, it looked like overnight leaders Gemma Stevens and Chilli King might hold onto the top spot to head into the cross-country, but German rider Felix Etzel put paid to that with a score of 27.4 on his own Promising Pete TSF. Having both moved to the UK earlier this year, the ten-year old gelding made his British Eventing debut last month at Cirencester Park with a win in the Open Novice.

The morning dressage session in the TopSpec CCI4*-S saw overnight leader Ros Canter on Michele and Archie Saul’s 2023 Badminton winner, Lordships Graffalo, take the lead. However, by lunchtime the pair had been pushed into second by Laura Collett and London 52, last year’s winners of this class. It was going to be difficult for the rest of the day’s cohort to beat their score of 20.1, so Ros and Lordships Graffalo stayed in second on 22.7 with Izzy Taylor and SBH Big Wall slotting into third on 25.0. Japan’s Kazuma Tomoto sits in fourth on his own Vinci De La Vigne JRA.

Tomorrow sees the jumping action begin with the CCI2*-L, CCI3*-L and CCI3*YR-L taking on the cross country and CCI4*-S will be showjumping in the Western Counties arena.

Join us at Bicton for all the eventing action and family fun with tickets available to purchase here.

  1. Cross country

With two days of cross country – both Saturday and Sunday – you’re in for a full weekend of action! On Saturday, three classes will take on the Helen West designed cross country course on the beautiful Bicton Grade I Parkland in Devon. From 9.30am, the Symonds & Sampson CCI3*-L will be on course, followed by the Western Counties Equine Hospital CCI3*YR-L and then the Mitchell & Webber CCI2*-L.

If you’re looking for a good photo opportunity, head to the Paddox Twig at fence 18 (fence 15 in the 2*) – created from a tree that fell on the estate during a storm last year. The huge log weighs several tonnes, so it was quite the mission for Event Director, Andrew Fell and his team to get it into position, plus partially bury it far enough into the ground to make the height suitable!

On Sunday, the top class will be taking to the course, where competitors in the TopSpec CCI4*-S will tackle what Helen describes as a ‘bold and beautiful track which requires stamina’ which has been built by Adrian Ditcham’s DHA Equestrian Services.

There’s no better place to see riders drop into water than at fence 5ABC, the Symonds & Sampson Splash, with the big drop coming when they re-enter this same water complex for fence 7, the appropriately named Symonds & Sampson Log Launch.

Keep an eye on Bicton socials to hear where Event Director Andrew Fell’s favourite spot is to watch cross country from.

 

  1. Showjumping

Again, taking place over two days, the showjumping is tense and exciting!

Catch some of the world’s best horse and rider combinations in the TopSpec CCI4*-S showjump over the course designed by Krissy Spiller on Saturday, getting their jumping eye in ahead of cross country on Sunday.

The competitors from the other three classes who completed the cross country test and who pass the trot up on Sunday morning, will come forward to put their accuracy to the test. Horses will be needing to adapt from jumping solid cross country fences on Saturday to delicate showjumps on Sunday! This provides some edge-of-the-seat, nail biting thrills as all it takes to knock the overnight leader off their top spot could be just one pole down!

 

  1. Food & drink

Choose from a variety of vendors with a range of food and drink options to tickle anyone’s tastebuds! From pizzas and crepes to burgers and baps, plus much more in between, you certainly won’t be going hungry. If you fancy a tipple, enjoy some soft drinks, hot drinks or perhaps even a Pimms when the sunshine comes out!

 

  1. Demonstrations (Saturday and Sunday)

10am Bicton College ‘Eventing on a shoe string’

Not only will Bicton College be doing this exciting Eventing based demo, they will also be doing dog grooming demos and will have their Devon County Show award-winning floristry team on site too. Treat yourself to something nice from their plant and Willow animal sales, and take a trip back in time with their display of vintage tractors.

11am Elite Dressage demo, led by British Championship team member Anna Ross

Their experienced team of riders, led by former British Championship team member Anna Ross, produce the horses from just backed three year olds all the way though to International Grand Prix.

Watch as they showcase the precision and elegance of dressage, highlighting the harmonious partnership between horse and rider. Intricate movements are executed with grace and fluidity, demonstrating both the horse’s athletic ability and the rider’s skill in guiding the horse with subtle cues.

12pm Recycled Racehorse Falconry

The Recycled Racehorse Falconry team are a team of Retrained Racehorses based with Dartmoor Hawking, a private falconry centre on the edge of Dartmoor national park.

Husband and wife team Martin and Philippa Whitley combine a passion for Falconry and Thoroughbreds into a (sometimes) fantastic combination, in the field, in the display ring and for teaching. Their team consists of 5 ex-racehorses, and the aim is to show how hugely versatile the ex-racehorse can be and to put it to a practical use.

Their displays are fast, fun and informative, explaining how they get the combination of the ultimate predator and the ultimate flight animal to work together as a unified team.

1pm All Steps formation team

“It’s like synchronised swimming only with horses”

A 10 strong demonstration team based in Devon, All Steps travel the country performing in shows in their trademark navy blue tails and white breeches. The aim is to bring formation riding to new audiences with demonstrations and show that it is a discipline for everyone, no matter the size or breed of your horse. The team horses range from a 14.1 Bodmin Pony to a 16.2 Friesian Sports Horse who all ride together to music in harmony, producing a beautiful equine ballet.

2pm Working Equitation

Discover the true art of horsemanship and learn about Working Equitation with members of the Association of British Working Equitation and Mark Jenner.

Working Equitation is a real test of the horse’s temperament and training, the riders skill and ability and of course the relationship between horse and rider.

Horses were originally domesticated and trained for farming and herding purposes, work which required them to respond to their rider whatever terrain and difficulties they may face. The sport is a highly refined and sophisticated demonstration of these activities, but with the added required quality of elegance and speed of execution.

Working Equitation comprises 3 phases – Dressage, Ease of Handling, Speed and at International level, cattle penning.

3pm Hound Parade

Watch as the East Devon Hunt parade their hounds and get up close and personal with them in your opportunity to meet the hounds and the hunt staff. Be warned though, you might be ‘hounded’(!) for food and there’s a high chance of being slobbered on!

 

  1. Family Dog Show

Bicton College are hosting a family dog show on both Saturday and Sunday so bring your four-legged friends for some fiercely competitive pooch parades!

Classes include:

  • Most handsome dog
  • Prettiest bitch
  • Most super senior (over 8 years)
  • Child handlet (under 12 years)
  • Best trick
  • Best rescue
  • Best pair (opposite or alike)
  • Best crossbreed
  • Waggiest tail
  • Best in show – open to all that have been placed first in class

 

The first day of competition commenced today at Bicton, Devon for the May International Horse Trials (23 – 26 May) with dressage in the Western Counties main arena where the first group of competitors from all four classes headed down the centre line.

In the Mitchell & Webber CCI2*-L, Olympic hopeful and FEI ranked World number two, Ros Canter and the chestnut mare Silvesters Finesse took the lead in the dressage with a 26.8. Owned by Deborah and Fergus Langstaff, Nessie, as she is fondly known at home, has had a good season so far with three top ten finishes out of three starts, including a win at Oasby in the Novice and second at the same level at Lincolnshire Horse Trials.

The lead was taken from last year’s winner Finn Healy late in the day in the Western Counties Equine Hospital CCI3*YR-L by Anna Price, by the tightest of margins – 0.1 penalties! Riding Tim and Tricia Price’s 9-year-old mare Keep Happy, the pair’s debut at this level saw them finish in the top ten at Osberton earlier this season.

The dressage action in the Symonds & Sampson CCI3*-L saw Gemma Stevens take the lead on Chilli King by 1.6 points, ahead of second placed Tom Jackson and Midnight Endeavour. Sired by Chilli Morning out of Kings Gem, this 9-year-old gelding is owned by breeder Christopher Stone as well as Chris and Clare Mathias.

It’s another overnight lead for Ros Canter in the TopSpec CCI4*-S on MHS Seventeen. With a score of 25.4, the 11-year-old Irish gelding out of MHS Dancing Queen impressed enough to be ahead of second placed Tim Price on Falco IV on 26. The pair are no strangers to success at this level with four top ten finishes at 4* in 2023, including third at Boekelo and fourth at Blair Castle.

Ros was delighted with her horses when we spoke to her after her tests, “I’m really happy with both horses today. MHS Seventeen produced a personal best, which we are delighted with. Silvesters Finess is a lovely young horse and really kept her cool. We are looking forward to more tests tomorrow and the cross country is looking like a really great challenge!”

Tomorrow sees the final dressage sessions take place for all four classes with some exciting combinations still to come – it’s still all to play for ahead of showjumping and cross country on Saturday and Sunday!

Join us at Bicton for all the action with tickets available to purchase here.

Bicton Arena was a hive of activity on the first day of competition for the May International Horse Trials. In the Southfield Arena, the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse four and five-year-old qualifiers got underway mid-morning, showcasing the eventing stars of the future.

The DBYEH series is a hugely popular competition that culminates in the final held at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials in September. The series aims to encourage breeders and trainers to produce and present the type of young horse which is considered to be the best material to make a world-class three-day event horse.

The judges look for an athletic, loose moving horse with a promising jumping technique and the correct attitude. The winner is the horse with the highest overall marks from four sections: Dressage, Jumping, Suitability & Type and Potential to Gallop.

In the four-year-old class, Anna Johannson took the win on her own and the horse’s breeder, Clare Crocker’s Camira De Madford. With the highest scores in the class for the showjumping (31) and gallop (4.5), Plum as the mare is affectionately known at home, took a clear lead, three points ahead of second placed Torie Sleep and Clever.

Anna comments, “It was the perfect introduction to eventing for Plum, made even more special as she is a homebred. It’s always a bit of the unknown how they will respond to something new, but she seriously impressed us all, and thankfully impressed the judges too. The course and the whole day was just perfect for the babies, so inviting and forgiving. I am so excited to see what the future holds for Plum after a well-deserved long holiday!”

The five-year-old class followed which saw 23 partnerships compete for the win, which was eventually taken by Tom Rowland and Odynn De Jeu. The 17.2 gelding is owned by well-known International Dressage rider and trainer, Pammy Hutton and was bred, as the name might suggest, by Emmy de Jeu, breeder of top quality KWPN dressage horses. This horse has quite the dressage pedigree being out of Idonnee De Jeu by Escamillo, the silver and bronze medallist at the World Championships for young dressage horses. It would seem that Odynn De Jeu has left his dressage roots behind in favour of eventing with some early success at Bicton today.

“Pammy is my next door neighbour at the Talland School of Equitation and I often help by jumping her four-year-olds. Brought unbroken as a three-year-old from Mark Bosanko, he seems a natural over a fence and really enjoys it, so it was an easy transfer to make from dressage. He’s going to be doing his first BE100 in a couple of weeks, which we are excited about,” said Tom.

Helen West, Co Director at Bicton added, “It’s great to have the DBYEH at Bicton, it’s an important qualifier in the South West and these classes provide a great opportunity to showcase up and coming talent. The set up was perfect for the young horse’s education, giving them a quiet area with well-prepared ground to give them a confident and welcoming experience to begin their competitive careers.”

These horses are sure to have an exciting future ahead. This competition is widely recognised as a great opportunity to see the stars of the future, with many winners of the series going on to win top level competitions.

  1. The Promoter of this prize draw is Bicton Arena, East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton, EX9 7BL
  2. The prize draw is open to all UK residents aged 18 years or over except employees of the Promoter or its holding or subsidiary companies, their families agents or any third party directly associated with administration of the prize draw.
  3. This prize draw is free to enter but internet access and your own genuine personal Facebook account is required.
  4. To enter into the prize draw, simply visit the Promoter’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bictonarena) or Instagram page (www.instagram.com/bicton_arena)
  5. Bicton Arena reserves the right to amend or alter the terms of the competition at any time and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition.
  6. The opening date for entries is 12.00hrs on Wednesday 1 September 2021. The closing date of the prize draw is 12.00hrs on Friday 3 September 2021. Entries received after this time will not be valid.
  7. One winner will receive the prize of one Azure Blue Gilet from Tech Clothing (sizing confirmed by the winner). The winner will be selected at random and will be contacted by Facebook message or Instagram message via the account they used to enter by 13:00 hrs on Friday 3 September 2021. The winner will be provided with details of to how to claim their prize. If a winner does not claim their prize before 10.00hrs on Saturday 4 September 2021 then the prize will be forfeited, and the Promoter will be entitled to select another winner in accordance with the process described above.
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NAF extends its generosity with the South West’s leading equestrian venue Bicton Arena by sponsoring the BE90 and BE100 3 Day Events that will take place at the October International Horse Trials (20-24 October 2021).

2021 will be the fourth consecutive year that Bicton has run the BE100 traditional long format competition across its stunning Grade One Listed Park, which has proved to be an extremely popular class and a highlight in many amateur event rider’s calendars. The BE90 3 Day pilot class, which was recently awarded to Bicton following a competitive tender process, will be the first to run at any British Eventing venue.

“We are so grateful to NAF for extending their support, who already sponsor the NAF Five Star Arena, our fantastic 90m x 50m pro-wax competition arena. The BE90 and BE100 3 Day Events are the perfect opportunity for NAF to reach passionate, grassroots competitors and we look forward to an exciting weekend of competition later in the season,” said Bicton Arena’s Manager, Helen West.

Eloise Chugg-Martin Sponsorship and Events Manager for NAF said, “We are really excited to have been invited to take title sponsorship of the BE90 and BE100 3 Day Events at Bicton. As supporters of riders from Grassroots to Team GB we appreciate just how important it is to provide aspiring amateur riders the chance to experience long format Eventing at a top class venue. After a very difficult year we really look forward to supporting amateur riders and we hope to see you there!”

Find out more about NAF here: www.naf-equine.eu/uk

 

We are delighted to now be in a position to advise you of the change in date for our July Horse Trials. British Eventing Official have today released their revised fixtures list so we can confirm that we will NOT be running on July 4th & 5th but WILL be running on July 25th & 26th.

BE90 & BE100 (Sat 25th) Novice and Intermediate inc AI (Sun 26th)

Our entries will open once BE have received the go ahead to move domestic sport in to Stage 3 of the Government relaxation measures, which are set to commence on July 4th. If we do not move into Stage 3 then we will not be able to open entries for the event. Please be prepared for a short entry window when entries do open.

Although the “new normal” is set to look somewhat different with a socially distanced model in place, we are very excited to be able to get the Sport back up and running. We have also welcomed significant rainfall this week, which is well timed and will aid in our preparation of the tracks for the end of July.

Horses with a purpose are used to hard training and routine like humans and they won’t completely just “let down.”  

I think it’s important to still give them some attention and sense of routine. Some horses may just like being left alone, in which case is really easy to let them be and not worry about them.  For horses that are more demanding / human dependent, or who will start pacing the fence line out in the paddock as soon as you turn your back are the ones we all struggle with the most.  

My top tips would be to only turn out as much as they’re used to at the start and maybe progress to longer if you can, or maybe even try turning out with a friendly horse to keep company.  Horses that like and need a job are best to still do some sort of controlled exercising even if it’s every other day.  

Alternate what you do with them so that they’re not always out hacking or just going in the school. You could even use this time to polish up on your ground work (eg horsemanship, stable management). Something enough to keep their brains thinking.  

You can try giving them treat balls or hanging toys to keep them entertained in their stables.  

Feeding wise, they get as much forage as they need, I like to cut their hard feeds a little but not so much that they start to lose condition. We feed our horses Baileys and even with cutting down on their feeds I’ll always give them a low starch diet to keep them looking and feeling good and Performance Balancer which helps keep their top line too. Of course, with any changes you want to be aware of any Tying up or Laminitis! 

Any routine is changeable, and all horses adapt differently but if they’re happy then we’re happy. 🙂 

Coriander Cousins – Groom for 5* event rider Chris Burton

Beccy Barrett has branched out and gone into “showjump restoration.” As I am sure you can imagine, the showjumps take quite a hammering with the usage they get, so we have a rolling maintenance programme which includes sanding them down and re-painting them. With the enforced lockdown, this seemed a worthwhile job that could be undertaken whilst adhering to social distancing measures. Beccy has swapped the award-winning Rolle Estate Office at Bicton for the salubrious storage barn to commence with “project paint”. 

Day 1 saw her rearrange the setup to enable greater productivity. She had Matt and Bart moving things around for her in the workshop to optimise her setup. This included making space for Pixie, who was set to be her trusty co-worker and see off anyone who dared approach the storage barn. Following day 2, when a glitch in the system resulted in two newly painted poles falling to the ground and getting covered in dust and grit, the production line was adapted and refined to prevent repeat disasters. Whoever knew she would prove to be such an expert in workplace efficiency.  

 

Having now painted in the region of 100 poles, which all had to be sanded, under coated and then top coated, Beccy has perfected her brush technique. I haven’t quite got the heart to tell her that she is still on the schooling set, and that we have 3 competition sets for her to move on to. This may prove a false starter as paint has become increasingly difficult to source since the lockdown began. Our competition sets require bespoke paint as they are different shades of red, blue, green and yellow, so she may yet get a reprieve if we are unable to source the right paint. When we do eventually get up and running again, clients will be in for a treat when they hire the arena as the schooling set will be transformed. In the meantime, if anyone out there has any paint contacts, please do get in touch so that we can keep Beccy supplied with materials to crack on with the competition sets.  

 

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