Countdown starts as ladies hand over the reins for top team events

Marilena Bannister on Corlande, Rebecca Wolfenden on Whitmore, Tabby Bentley on Ilandian Gladiator and Nicky Burrows on Currantarmuid Charleston.
Marilena Bannister on Corlande, Rebecca Wolfenden on Whitmore, Tabby Bentley on Ilandian Gladiator and Nicky Burrows on Currantarmuid Charleston.
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THE long-established Harrogate Ladies Equestrian Team Challenge has been renamed The Yorkshire Equestrian Team Challenge with organisers hopeful next month’s re-branded event will see a full subscription of teams.

Entries for the exciting competition held at the Great Yorkshire Showground will be accepted until next Friday with the countdown already on to the event itself on Sunday, September 22.

Harrogate Ladies College have called time on their involvement in the show-jumping event which has grown in popularity over the last 15 years.

Now organisers hope a new name will bring an exciting future for the competition which allows competitors the opportunity to compete in the showground’s main arena.

The event will see teams of four do battle at both junior and senior level across four different groups – namely schools and colleges, riding clubs, hunts and individual teams – with the organising committee aiming to have 24 teams in each section.

Entries will be accepted up until next Friday and committee member Carol Dawson anticipates as strong an entry as ever to kick-off the new Yorkshire Equestrian Team Challenge with a bang.

“It’s a great competition and gives competitors the opportunity to compete at this wonderful venue,” she said. “It’s a really successful event.”

Organisers hope to attract 24 junior teams and 24 senior teams of four with each team jumping two rounds.

The top six will go through to a final jump-off, at which time they will recommence with a zero score.

Organisers will also aim to establish four groups of six teams in both the juniors and seniors, who will compete equally against each other over the first two rounds.

The winners of each group will be awarded rosettes to recognise their achievements.

This year’s course has been built by Barry and Paul Goodwin with the main arena split into two rings with a working hunter course and a show-jumping course. Each competitor will have the opportunity to jump both.

The event will also feature commentary delivered by committee member Christine Barber, who commentates at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Committee chairman Stephen Freegard added: “In the future, I believe it could be possible for the event to form part of a national qualifier hence the name ‘The Yorkshire Equestrian Team Challenge’.

“The committee now wish to invite as many teams as possible who have competed in the past and we look forward to meeting old and new teams.

“I would like to thank the past chairman, Rodney Tennant, plus Harrogate Ladies College and the organising committee with a special thank you to Harrogate Ladies College who have supported the event for the past 15 years.

“They, together with Rodney, had the foresight to establish an event which enables riders to compete at the premier Yorkshire showground which all show-jumping enthusiasts aspire to.”

BSJA Grades A & B Horses, JA Ponies and Horse Trials Advanced Horses are ineligible for the event while no horse/pony rider may represent more than one team or compete more than once for its own team.

The cost of entry is £130 for a junior team and £150 for a senior team.

Teams interested are asked to contact Amanda Atkinson on 07863 563188 as soon as possible. More details from Carol Dawson on 07710 843003.

All horses/ponies entered must be in possession of a current passport with up to date vaccination.

New driving trials can help pack them in to Countryside Live event

EQUINE driving trials will make a first appearance at the 11th Countryside Live event which will take place at the Great Yorkshire Showground Harrogate on Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20.

The little sister of the annual Great Yorkshire Show, Countryside Live combines competitive classes for livestock with displays and demonstrations aimed at all the family.

Last year attracted a record-breaking 12,061 visitors through the gates and honorary show director Bill Cowling hopes the introduction of equine driving trials can swell this year’s gate further.

“For the first time we have equine driving trials – an arena version of what many will recognise as one of Prince Philip’s favourite hobbies,” he said. “I’m sure it will be hugely popular. Countryside Live is very much a fun event for the family, always buzzing with a whole host of things to do and many of them are ‘hands on’.

“There’s everything from archery to ferret racing to bread-making!

“The cattle and sheep classes are very much at the heart of the event and it’s a great opportunity to see some of the best of the best.”

Other equine highlights at the popular event will include the ‘Search for a Talented Show Jumper’ competition with Olympic stars Graham and Tina Fletcher.

Countryside Live also offers Olympia qualifying classes for ridden mountain and moorland ponies as well as ridden heavy horse classes.

The closing dates for equine entries is Friday, September 6.

Gates open at 9am each day, and car parking is free.

Tickets are available at the event or in advance with the booking deadline being Friday, October 11.

Adult tickets are £8 in advance or £10 on the gate with children aged between five and 18 years charged £4 in advance or £5 on the gate.

A family ticket, which admits two adults and up to three children, costs £22 in advance or £28 on the gate.

Dogs other than assistance dogs are not allowed so pets must be left at home.

More information about Countryside Live is available from www.countrysidelive.co.uk.