The equestrian spotlight turns on North Yorkshire over the next nine days as teams from around the globe descend on the region.
For just a couple of weeks after Bramham, Yorkshire’s eventing attention turns to Skipton Horse Trials this weekend and Aske Horse Trials next weekend (July 4-5).
Hundres of riders and horses will flock to Skipton, a popular event which last summer celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Entries are on the increase and with 120 volunteers a day needed to staff the British Eventing (BE) affiliated competition, just off the A59 near Skipton, the logistical planning is daunting.
The weekend includes the same horse riding disciplines of Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country which can be seen at the Olympics, the FEI World Equestrian Games and international events such as Badminton and Burghley.
“We really focus on providing a fantastic grassroots experience with BE90, BE100 & Novice classes,” said Skipton Horse Trials’ organiser Michael Bower. “The location, courtesy of Mr John Howard, is stunning.”
This is the first of two weekend events for Skipton, the second is held later in the summer on August 8-9.
Bower added: “In August we also have one of the Mitsubishi Grassroots BE100 Regional finals and KBIS 4 & 5 year old qualifier classes.
“We have tried to introduce things like the programme cover star, the accumulator cash prizes and Grub’s boots Facebook competition to increase interest from both riders and potential spectators.
“This year we have also introduced a Great Skipton Horse Trials Bake Off to add a bit of fun for those providing cakes for our volunteers.
“We need 120 volunteers per day who give their time and without whom we could not run. We are always looking for new people who would like to get involved. We have some very generous and loyal sponsors as with all events we would really love to get some more businesses involved and have various options to suit most budgets.”
Next weekend it’s the turn of Aske Horse Trials, which will see over 600 horses running over two days, including Yorkshire’s own Olympic medallist Nicola Wilson and upcoming talent like Storm Straker.
Set in the sweeping grounds of the Aske Estate – with the kind permission of Earl & Countess of Ronaldshay – the trials are held July 4-5 and September 25-27.
The Zetland Hunt was the originally organiser of Aske and have helped it to become a firm favourite with local riders.
Over the years the likes of Olympians Caroline Powell, Oliver Townend, Zara Phillips and Clayton Fredericks have all competed at Aske.
“It’s also a well regarded springboard for up and coming talent of the future as well as providing a great experience for keen amateur riders,” said Jo Fletcher-Lee, head of Aske’s media and marketing.
“Aske has been a cornerstone event in North Yorkshire for many years and holds a special place in the Northern eventing calendar.
“This year promises to be the start of a new, exciting chapter in the history of this much loved event with highlights including a new BE90 and CIC 1* for September, making it one of only two international events in the North this year,” she added.
“Anyone not familiar with eventing could be forgiven for thinking it’s a a complicated sport that only appeals to a select few.
“On the contrary, there are nearly 200 official events that attract more than half a million spectators each year.
“Eventing combines the skill and courage of cross country with the elegance and precision of dressage and the accuracy and timing of showjumping.
“It’s a great day out in an amazing parkland setting and aside from the actual event, there will be other things to see and do including trade stands from local businesses such as S G Petch, Ripon Farm Services, Field House Logs and Lloyd Equestrian. Food and drinks will be on offer from well known local caterer Davina Lovegreen.
“The attraction for many lies in the fact that it’s one of the few sports where men and women compete on equal terms and where professionals and amateurs also compete in the same events,” added Fletcher-Lee. “Britain is also one of the most successful nations, with 266 medals in 84 years of Olympic, world and European competition.”