Houghton Hall – where world class sport and art meet

Houghton Hall hosts the Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International Picture: Ian Burt

Houghton Hall hosts the Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Visitors to this year's Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International can look forward to an unusual blend of world class sport - set against a backdrop of modern art.

Houghton Hall currently has a Damien Hirst exhibition of new paintings alongside some of his most celebrated sculptures.

It also hosts the only British leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup, where five nations – Great Britain, USA, Ireland, Sweden and New Zealand – will be vying to wrestle the title from three-time consecutive winners Germany.

In total, 19 nations are represented in the eventing classes, with cross country and show jumping taking place on both Saturday and Sunday.

World class riders are already settled in on site ahead of the first day of competition, on Thursday.

Ones to watch have to be Laura Collett and Tina Cook. Collett has three entries, including her uber-talented Mr Bass who, along with Cook's Billy The Red and Calvino II, were due to contest Badminton before the spring's bad weather and a nasty fall for Cook put paid to those plans.

Crowd favourites Pippa Funnell, Ben Hobday and Nicola Wilson are also in the line-up.

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International medal winners include Australia's Andrew Hoy, New Zealand's Caroline Powell, Germany's Dirk Schrade and twice world champion Kiwi, Blyth Tait.

The horse trials also plays host to the NAF British Eventing Under-21 Championships.

Reigning Junior European champion Bubby Upton will have three shots at this title, including with her medal-winning partner Eros DHI. Last year's winner Felicity Collins returns, as does 2017 runner-up Sam Ecroyd.

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, plus 'have a go' dog agility, children's entertainment and over 70 tradestands, food outlets and a licenced bar.

For more information visit http://www.musketeer.co.uk.

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