Chatsworth promises a ‘challenging’ test

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THERE are four weeks until Bramham, but designers Ian Stark and David Evans have a May treat in store at this weekend’s Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials in Bakewell.

Course designer Stark and course builder Evans are responsible for the cross-country test at Bramham which begins on Thursday, June 11 but have also been busy preparing for Chatsworth where action begins on Saturday.

Former Olympic legend Stark is promising a “challenging” yet “more horse-friendly” CIC three-star cross-country test in Derbyshire where up-and-coming Yorkshire riders such as Holly Woodhead, Hazel Towers, Charlotte Brear and Noah Brook join the likes of White Rose stars 
Oliver Townend and Gary Parsonage.

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this year’s course is easier, because it’s definitely still challenging, but it’s perhaps more horse-friendly,” said Stark, who won the international class in 1999 on the Duchess of Devonshire’s horse, Stanwick Ghost.

“Riding a clear round at Chatsworth gives competitors a sense of achievement because the terrain is testing and the whole backdrop of the house and park gives the event such a big-time atmosphere.”

Stark is also designing the course at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle in the autumn.

He continued: “It’s quite similar terrain there and I’m anticipating that the combination of that and the same designer will bring more nationalities to get a feel of what I’m doing.”

Evans will also have an international field to contend with in the one-star classes on Saturday when a group of up-and-coming French riders arrive at Chatsworth as part of a cultural programme.

Evans added: “My aim is to provide a good introduction to international level and a proper education for young horses and riders.”