Video: Competition hots up at sizzling Bramham Horse Trials

THE sun beamed down on Bramham today as memories of umbrellas and wellies were swept aside by ice cream and Pimm’s on the opening day of the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials.

Emma Wilkinson, 21, of Skipton, enjoying the event whilst cooling down with her glass of Pimms in the afternoon sun.

The warm weather might not last throughout all four days - but at least Bramham has already had at least one day in the sun.

Short-sleeved shirts and sunglasses were the order of the day at an event that has lost no gloss inspite of the non-appearance of Bramham regular Zara Phillips.

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As up to 60,000 spectators could pass through Bramham’s gates over the course of the four days which reaches its climax with Sunday evening’s show jumping finale in which Northallerton’s Nicola Wilson and Huddersfield’s Oliver Townend lead the White Rose charge.

Emma Wilkinson, 21, of Skipton, enjoying the event whilst cooling down with her glass of Pimms in the afternoon sun.

Townend and Wilson feature amongst a top class line up which includes British world no 1 William Fox-Pitt and riders from 14 different nations including the United States, Australia, South Africa and countries throughout Europe.

And there was a definite continental feel about today’s curtain raiser at which the warm June sunshine battled through the morning mist to poke its head out just in time for Townend’s 9am dressage opener.

As the temperature rose, Bramham’s masses either relaxed in the soothing sunshine or swarmed in and out of the event’s many trade stands.

Bars were particularly popular as the day’s heat continued to build with the Bond Dickinson pound on the cross country course not due in action to this weekend but getting an early mention.

“Can someone take me to the Bond Dickinson pond for a swim,” quipped one visitor.

Several riders may well get that dip come tomorrow’s cross country test when the pace of Bramham will go up a gear with the 160 riders tackling course designer Ian Stark’s test on Saturday before Sunday’s show jumping finale.

But amidst a relaxed and sedate environment, today’s relaxed spectators were more than happy to sit back with a glass of bubbly or Pimm’s in summer sunshine that always has Bramham looking at its brilliant best.

Temperatures hit a high of 20 degrees today as last year’s torrential downpours were consigned to a distant memory.

The forecast is not quite as great as for the final three days but what the weather might or might not do over the next three days was on few people’s minds on day one at Bramham.

If the rain arrives today or tomorrow so be it as Bramham proved last year it can thrive in any conditions.

Today, though, the only thing pouring was good times, Pimm’s and sun cream it seems.