Richmond online to add to the excitement

Leading attraction: World No 8 Oliver Townend in action at Richmond Horse Trials where he will again be competing. Picture by Chris Lax
Leading attraction: World No 8 Oliver Townend in action at Richmond Horse Trials where he will again be competing. Picture by Chris Lax
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THE 2015 eventing season is preparing to reach a thrilling climax with next month’s European Championships at Blair preceding the CCI four-star Burghley Horse Trials.

But first comes Yorkshire’s helping with the Richmond Horse Trials where White Rose stars Oliver Townend and Nicola Wilson feature at an event now at one with modern technology.

Wilson, Townend and Piggy French will be using next weekend’s event at Richmond Equestrian Centre as a warm-up for the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials which take place the following week in Lincolnshire.

One week later comes the 2015 eventing highlight – the European Championships at Blair Castle in Scotland – where Huddersfield’s Townend, Northallerton’s Wilson and York’s Holly Woodhead all feature for Team GB.

Emma Notman, co-organiser of the Richmond Horse Trials, is thrilled to have attracted riders such as Townend and Wilson.

Following its successful introduction at the May event, the trials will be using innovative technology as scores will be available for viewing online as they develop.

Notman beamed: “We are delighted to have another bumper entry for our August Horse Trials, with eight Burghley hopefuls entered for Friday, August 28.

“Our intermediate classes are now a well-established feature of the British Eventing calendar, and this year all four cross-country courses have been refreshed and updated for 2015. We will also be building a second water complex this winter, for use in our 2016 events.”

Explaining the difference the new technology will make, Notman added: “Previously, scores were hand written on large scoreboards at the event, meaning that riders, owners and the public at large had little or no idea how they were placed in the competition, with final placings not available for up to an hour after the competition finished.

“With real-time scoring, anyone can follow a rider’s progress: at the event via TV screens, online, or even on a tablet or smart phone. This creates a real buzz at the event, and it’s fascinating to watch a rider progress around the cross-country course on your phone!”

Those hopeful of seeing the equestrian stars will also find trade stands and catering on site, as well as plenty of action in the dressage, show- jumping, and the all-important cross-country phases.

Entry on Friday is free for spectators, with the event taking place at Richmond Equestrian Centre, Breckenborough Farm, Tunstall, Catterick.

Those unable to attend the event can also follow the competition as it develops at www.eventscore.co.uk

This weekend sees World No 8 Townend take 15 horses to Somerford Park International where World No 10 Wilson has four horses entered. Both riders then move on to Richmond next weekend.

Yorkshire trio Townend, Wilson and Woodhead will no longer be joined by Bramham winner Flora Harris at next month’s Europeans after the rider was axed by the British Eventing senior selectors.

Harris won June’s flagship CCI three-star event on Bayano but the combination have been dropped following the horse’s recent lack of form at the Eventing CICO3* Nations Cup event in Aachen.

The senior selectors have decided to replace the combination with 22-year-old Kent rider Tom Jackson and Waltham Fiddlers Find.

In addition to the substitution, Izzy Taylor will now ride her direct reserve horse, KBIS Briarlands Matilda, after Allercombe Ellie was found to be lame in Aachen.