Bicton Arena Horse Trials staging confidence giving courses this weekend

Mary King on the cross country course at Bicton Arena.

Mary King on the cross country course at Bicton Arena. - Credit: KOR Communications

Organisers of this weekend’s Bicton Arena Horse Trials are working around the clock to ensure the best going possible for its affiliated competition in light of the long spell of dry weather, writes Lucy Johnson.

Showjumping, including the warm up area, will take place on all-weather surfaces, the dressage arenas have been watered and the cross country courses have been aggravated with sand on takes offs and landings where appropriate.

Helen West said: “The team here has put in a phenomenal amount of work and we’re confident about the dressage and cross country surfaces.

“A couple of years ago we invested in some invaluable ground maintenance machinery which allows us to work on the ground throughout the year. This ensures the surfaces don’t become impacted and makes the job of aggravating a routine part of our day to day management, thus helping to ensure we can provide safe ground for our competitions.”

Bicton’s commitment to its surfaces has been rewarded with terrific entries for the competition which is generously supported by Goodbye Flys, Mr John Bevan and Pete Appleford, Wyvern Equestrian, Leonard Coombe Master Saddlers and Country Life at Newton Abbot, Proxtein, Redpost Equestrian with special prizes from NAF for best dressage and West of England Stabling who are giving double clear rosettes in the BE80 and BE90 classes.

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More than 500 horse and rider combinations will be in action at the event with classes ranging from BE80 to open novice, with the competition regarded as an excellent opportunity for grass roots riders, on the first rung of the ladder of their eventing careers, and novice horses starting out in horse trials.

Helen said: “The courses are all really encouraging and built in such a way that riders and horses should all achieve confidence giving rounds.”

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Entry for spectators is free and catering will be available on both days, with a number of trade stands to browse too.

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