THE FESTIVAL OF THE HORSE 2000
26-28 August Bank Holiday Weekend
Entries remain High for Highclere
Well over 200 entries have been received for the two day International Horse Trials at Highclere Castle - the feature event of The Festival of the Horse 2000 at Highclere Castle, near Newbury over the Bank Holiday weekend - with the majority of the dressage and show jumping taking place on Sunday 27 August and the cross country and remainder of the earlier phases on the Bank Holiday Monday.
With a choice of intermediate, open intermediate and advanced intermediate classes, the Highclere event has held its own despite being immediately preceded by Blair and being closely followed by Burghley (31 August-3 September), Blenheim (7-10 September) and the Sydney Olympics.
Amongst those taking the opportunity to bring on younger horses and get in tune for later events are top international riders: Swedens Anna Hilton, Mark Kyle from Ireland and William Fox-Pitt. Last years One-Two in one of Highcleres Advanced Intermediate classes Marie Sleet with Penny Royale III and Jo Marsh-Smith with Albie OG (respectively) both return to the venue next weekend for a rematch; whilst the 1999 Highclere Open Intermediate winner, Daisy Dick rides the same horse The White Sergeant in the advanced intermediate this time.
Alterations to the cross-country course have been made this year as a result of an ongoing refurbishment programme and the introduction of new sponsors. New fences include a kick on and cling on elephant trap (as described by course designers Rod and Sue Bennett) and a new log pile replacing the old parallels. The Bennetts, also designers at Wilton and Tythrop Park this year, have been building the Highclere course since 1995. Commented Sue: Riders seem to enjoy Highclere because it is challenging but at the same time, fair and straightforward. They often say to us that it has the look of a mini-Badminton.
Harrods famous window dressers will be assigned to decorate the Harrods bank complex comprising the Pyramid fence and obelisk drop. And, Phase Eight (the fashion chain offering affordable, stylish tailoring and smart occasion wear) a long-time supporter of horse trials rider, Jo Rimmer (also entered at Highclere) branches out into event sponsorship for the first time as sponsor of Highcleres famous sphinx fence - a double of corners, with a prime position in front of the Castle.
Woodstock Furniture of Knightsbridge is to sponsor the Side Saddle classes, and Mitsubishi Motors Reading are also supporting the event as an extension of the nine year Mitsubishi Motors UK sponsorship of Badminton Horse Trials. Horse & Hound magazine, Mark Hall Insurance Services and Horsefair Equestrian are also new sponsors for this years event.
The Horse Trials will be supported by an even bigger all-star cast of displays and competitions making up the second running of Highcleres FESTIVAL OF THE HORSE 2000 with carriage driving (Saturday and Sunday), Affiliated Show Jumping (Sunday) and on the Bank Holiday Monday: Horse Whisperer (Gary Witheford), Showcase competitive Horse Sale, Fullers Heavy Horse Musical Drive, Dressage-to-Music by Catherston Stud, American Saddlebreds, Western Riding and Side Saddle.
The official charities for The Festival of The Horse & International Horse Trials will be The Racing Welfare Millennium Appeal and The Inspire Foundation. Highclere Castle is located just South of Newbury, off the A34 Bypass. Gates open from 9am. No advance booking required. Tickets (excl. Craft Fair); Sat £4 per adult (Children £1); Sun £5 (£1); Mon £8 (£2). Further details from: www.highclerecastle.co.uk
The Full Festival Timetable is as follows:
Location: Just South of Newbury, off the A34 Bypass (follow the brown signs to The Castle)
Admission Prices: Saturday £4 per adult (children £1), Sunday £5 (£1), Monday £8 (£2). All prices include parking and admission [excluding Craft Fair]
Booking system: No advance bookings taken
Further details from: www.highclerecastle.co.uk or call: 01256-850272.