Thursday, 9 September 2010

Blenheim Horse Trials | Last of The Big Three

Ostentatious Surroundings
Blenheim always signals to me, the end of the UK eventing season, as the last of the big events before the nights draw in and weather really starts to turn cold. I'll be going this year for cross country day, for the first time in a few years, so this is just a short post to get the ball rolling, and get myself in the mood.

Dressage starts on Thursday (today), and even with the World Equestrian Games only days aways now, there is a big international field with plenty of WEG contenders taking our their green advanced horses in preparation for earning a shot at a 4* next season.

Here's my tourism pitch, as to why you should visit Blenheim:

These are the most ostentatious surroundings for a horse trials you will ever come across, it's the largest 'palace' in the UK (I think!), and the birth place of Winston Churchill (UK prime-minister), he's buried just around the corner in Bladon, and is situated just outside Oxford.

This is where the world crusading Mike Etherington-Smith cut his teeth course designing at the upper levels, and there's plenty of terrain here to play with. The main water complex is run through the river bladon, in a lake that needs to be drained for something like 4 months to bring the water level down enough to canter through.

Blenheim Cross Country Course | Long & Varied
You'll find trees in the park that are over a thousand years old, and in the palace itself you'll find tapestry's that completely cover ever wall in the vast stately rooms depicting battle scenes from the 1700s. I went to a charity do there once and listened to Bill Clinton speak (and even play the Saxaphone), the massive library/music room with it's own monumental organ. The horse trials is run out of one and half rooms that used to be the old laundry, just off a court yard next to the orangery where you can hold a very lavish wedding, if you've got money to burn.

The shopping here is on a par with Badminton and Burghley, just slightly less crowded, and there's plenty to do other than the horse trials, so you always have something to keep the children entertained if necessary.

OK, public service announcement over!

But seriously, if you get the chance, do visit Blenheim Horse Trials, it has a long and varied cross country course that always produced a few thrills and spills. I'll hopefully have more of a report after I get back on Saturday. In the meantime take a look at the list of runners, and see how many WEG selected riders, and fall outs from Burghley you can spot.

Blenheim Runners
Blenheim Website

Oh, and it's good to see more of our cousins from the US using Blenheim to cut their teeth on the big UK circuit. Good Luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment