Record entries for horse trials

THIS year looks like being a bumper event for the Bramham International Horse Trials, with a record number of entries for the popular event starting today.

Pippa Funnell, with Pure Addiction, is hoping to defend the title she won last year, but more than 160 riders will be taking part in three top class eventing competitions, beginning with the dressage section today. Organisers are hoping that a good weather forecast for the weekend will attract even more spectators than last year, when more than 56,500 people went to Bramham Park over the four days.

The event has the backing of Welcome to Yorkshire, the county’s tourist organisation and has attracted leading riders both from this country and abroad.

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Pippa Funnell will have competition from, among others, William Fox-Pitt, Huddersfield-born Oliver Townend, Nicola Wilson from Northallerton, Tina Cook and Andrew Nicholson and his former New Zealand team mate, Blyth Tait.

The riders will tackle the cross country course, designed by Ian Stark, on Saturday The former Olympic rider’s first course for Bramham was highly regarded last year and he has more surprises in store for this year.

Showjumping is one of the highlights on Sunday and other attractions include a hunter show today, classes for young horses and at the weekend Pony Club mounted games.

Shopping is all part of a visit to the event and tomorrow the shops stay open late and there is free entry after 4pm.