This year’s Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International, running over the bank holiday period from Thursday, May 25 to Tuesday, May 30, is set to welcome riders from 16 nations.
These range from Finland and Sweden to Guatemala, Indonesia and Hong Kong. Entries for the CICO3*, which incorporates the only British leg of the FEI Nations Cup, are full and seven teams look set to challenge the winner of the previous two years, Germany.
The CICO3* is also one of five legs of the Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam. Oliver Townend will be looking to add a Houghton win to his victory at Burnham Market International last month - he has five horses entered in this class.
Plenty of top class riders will be giving him a run for his money though, not least Izzy Taylor who won the first leg of the Slam at Belton International and has three to ride in the 3*. Also in the fray are Piggy French riding Vanir Kamira, runners up at Burnham Market, Bettina Hoy with Seigneur Medicott – Bettina has an excellent record at Houghton, fellow German Andreas Ostholt who finished runner up in 2015 with So Is Et, and the consistent Mr Bass piloted by Laura Collet, the pair having won the CIC3* in Ballindenisk earlier this year.
Other big names to look out for include William Fox-Pitt who has two young horses in the 1* and Rosalind Canter, best Brit and highest placed lady rider in 5th at Badminton this year – Ros has three entered for the 2*. Past Burghley winner Caroline Powell brings three horses and British Rio rider Gemma Tattersall brings four.
Running alongside the International event, there are also showjumping, combined training, dressage, arena eventing and pony club classes, as well as the ever popular Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifiers.
For those less horse-orientated, Britain Does Vintage returns with a Vintage Fair and tearoom. As usual there will be children’s entertainment, over 70 tradestands, food outlets, and a licenced bar. On the Sunday there will be camel racing, organised by the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Musketeer’s official charity this year. This was hugely popular at Burnham Market International and is well worth watching.
Tickets can be bought on the Gate, which opens at 8.30am every day. For more information on any aspect of this year’s FEI Houghton International Horse Trials, visit http://www.musketeer.co.uk