Preparations for Houghton trials

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With under a week to go before Houghton International Horse Trials gets underway, the final preparations are being made to welcome another world class contingent of riders, writes Judy Bates.

Reigning world champion Sandra Auffarth is bringing three horses to Houghton. In fact, entries are truly international, with Andrew Hoy and Christopher Burton heading the southern hemisphere charge, Bettina Hoy and Dirk Schrade backing up Sandra for Germany, Andrew Heffernan representing the Netherlands, Vittoria Panizzon a serious challenger for Italy and Toshiyuki Tanaka flying the flag for Japan.

The strength of international entry is in part because Houghton International hosts the only British leg of the FEI Nations Cup series, in which Great Britain has been so successful. Houghton also provides the venue for the Askham Bryan National Under 21 Championships, where the stars of the future vie to catch the selectors’ attention.

The action starts on Thursday with the first of the international dressage tests, the main cross country sections are on Friday and Saturday, and the final show jumping rounds are on Sunday.

Away from the horses, Houghton is hosting the Barking Bugle Dog Agility Show on the Saturday and Sunday and there is the usual raft of show jumping classes, both affiliated, unaffiliated and pony club, and team dressage.

The Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes provide the perfect showcase for four and five-year-old ‘would-be’ top class eventers and, new for this year, Houghton also hosts a qualifier for the new Arena Eventing competition.

A full time table of events and all other information can be found on www.mus