Leading riders head for Norfolk

Top-class riders and horses will be heading for Great Witchingham this weekend. British Eventing summer one, two and three-day horse trials are being held at Blackwater Farm.

Top-class riders and horses will be heading for Great Witchingham this weekend. British Eventing summer one, two and three-day horse trials are being held at Blackwater Farm.

Riders include Piggy French, Oliver Townend, Mathew Wright, Izzy Taylor and Mark Kyle.

Almost 500 horses will be competing in dressage, showjumping and cross-country, with classes including the Tiggas Saddlery two-day section and the Derby House Saddlery pre-novice three-day section, where the competitors tackle roads and tracks and steeplechase phases prior to a cross-country run.

“We are the first event to stage this pre-novice three-day section and it's hoped that entries will grow as it becomes established,” said organiser David Sayer.

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“These two and three-day sections provide an opportunity for riders and horses with less experience, and provides them with a similar challenge to that of the great three-day events, but at their own level.”

The pre-novice three-day and novice two-day dressage and showjumping phases start tomorrow at 11am, with the cross-country phases starting 9am on Saturday, and action throughout Sunday.

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Entry is £10 per car, including programme. Blackwater Farm is just off the A1067 by the Norfolk Wildlife Park/Reepham turning.

Laura Tinkler, from Norwich, has been celebrating after a restricted novice win in the Derby Festival at Hickstead on her mother's six-year-old Neapolitan. She also came fourth in the British Young Dressage Horse class against international competition.

Laura's mother, June Keenan, bought Neapolitan as an unbroken three-year-old and started him herself.

He began his competitive career this season and remains unbeaten in all his eight competitions to date, including Towerlands and Keysoe, and has qualified for the regional finals in August.

Laura, who works full-time as a mobile hairdresser and also teaches at a children's home, trains with Tessa Fielder.

She said: “Neapolitan is worth his weight in gold.

“He has a fantastic temperament and is so willing, a real one in a million who I am aiming at Prix St George in the future.”

Horse sanctuary Redwings' annual summer open weekend is on Saturday and Sunday at Hapton, south of Norwich.

It will be open on both days from 10 am to 4pm and admission is free.

Redwings' chief executive, Lynn Cutress, said: “There will be horse handling demonstrations, plus tours of the veterinary hospital and the opportunity to meet a number of very special residents, including retired adoption equines Ben and Willow, whom many people love.”

More than 150 horses and ponies took part in the ILPH Hall Farm summer showing show, which included qualifying events for Shetland Pony Stud Book Society, Absolute Horse All-rounder Championship, Veteran Horse Society Championships, British Skewbald and Piebald Association and Amateur Showing Society.

Saddles of the very latest design, with fully adjustable trees, are now available in Norfolk from Rockland's Farm Feeds. Call their saddlery department on 01953 483505.

The Eye Horse Show is at Goodrich Park, near Diss, on August 27 and 28. For details, call Emma Matthews on 01379 871252.

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