Belton International Horse Trials, 13 - 15th April 2018

Words and Photos by Julian Portch

After all of the wet weather that the country has been experiencing for the last few months, it was great to finally be out on a three star track. This year the course had been run the other way round, for the first time ever at Belton. Friday saw Novice and Intermediate sections running all day, in dry conditions. On Saturday the sun came out to play and saw hundreds of spectators walking around the park in shorts and T-shirts to watch the CIC** and Intermediate sections. The two CIC** Section winners were Christopher Burton on BAHIRA M and Bubby Upton on EROS DHI. Runners up were Emily Baldwin on UPPERCOURT COOLEY and Lizzie Baugh on QUARRY MAN respectively. On Sunday, keen to get their top horses out for the first time at this level, in addition to the Grantham Cup , (Section M), there was an additional CIC*** section (Section N) and two Advanced Sections. In the three star competitions, Fence 6ABCD seemed to cause the biggest challenge to the riders, but there was plenty of cheering by the spectators when competitors rode it successfully. But the Big Prize of the day went to Jonty Evans on the Crowd Funded Horse, COOLEY RORKES DRIFT to lift the sort after Grantham Cup. Jonty seemed to ride it effortlessly with a smile on his face for most of the course. Piggy French on VANIR KAMIRA was a close runner up. CIC*** Section N was won by Tom Jackson on BILLY CUCKOO, with an early morning misty cross country course to contend with. Austin O'Connor on LUCKY CONTENDER, running five horses in front of Tom, earned 2nd place. Our thanks go to BEDE for organising a wonderful three days of eventing and to the hundreds of volunteers and officials who make it all run seamlessly. "