Witchingham takes a step up in class

Hayley GibbsGreat Witchingham's Spring Horse Trials take place at Blackwater Farm on March 25, 26 and 27 with a new major sponsor and a CIC* International classification.Hayley Gibbs

Great Witchingham's Spring Horse Trials take place at Blackwater Farm on March 25, 26 and 27 with a new major sponsor and a CIC* International classification.

Alan Boswell Group Insurance and Financial Services are the new title sponsors, having been fence sponsors since the first horse trials at Great Witchingham 20 years ago

'We are delighted to be associated with such a respected event,' said Chris Greaves, the business development manager of the Alan Boswell Group. 'David Sayer and his team have created something truly special, which has a strong reputation, not only in the UK but also overseas.'

Among the leading international riders and horses competing will be Pippa Funnell with Primmores Pride and Blue Horizon, and Norfolk's Piggy French with her European silver medal partner Some Day Soon among her 12 rides.

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Lucinda Fredericks, Jeanettte Brakewell, Chloe and Willa Newton, Francis Whittington, Mark Kyle, Anna Hilton, Tom Crisp, Lawrence Hunt, Peter Hoogland (Holland) and Michael and Patricia Ryan - who are bringing 15 horses from Ireland - will all be competing.

As always there will also be a very strong East Anglian entry including Marianne Ames, Pip Peters, Emily Lahore, Nat Dixon, Sarah Wales, Stuart Higgins, Lucy Prior, and Tom March - all with multiple rides.

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Classes running over the three days include Advanced Intermediate, Open Intermediate, Intermediate, and BE100 on Thursday, CIC*, Novice and BE100 on Friday with Junior Regional Novice, Novice, BE100 and BE90 on Saturday.

Dressage starts at 8.30am, show jumping at 10am, and cross country at 10.30 am on all three days with the last horse going across country at 5pm.

New cross country fences for this season include an imposing water complex for the CIC* which utilises the pretty Blackwater river, and which should be an exciting vantage point for spectators.

Blackwater Farm is set in the beautiful Wensum Valley countryside, 11 miles from Norwich on the A1067 Norwich-Fakenham road by the Reepham turning at the Norfolk Wildlife Park.

There will be trade stands and refreshments available on site. Admission is �10 per car or �5 per person.

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