Bramham Prepares

Sarah Cohen

Sarah Cohen and Treason clear the Welcome to Yorkshire Y's at Bramham in 2011        Photo: Kit Houghton


This weekend will see two major selection events on either side of the world. At Werribee Park, just outside of Melbourne, the Melbourne International Three Day Event will be taking place while in the north of England, the Equi-trek Bramham International Horse Trials will see many Australian, New Zealand and other international riders competing.

An Eventful Life will provide full coverage of both events and I will be at Melbourne 3 Day Event every day along with the rest of the team but I must admit my heart will be at Bramham Horse Trials. Located between Leeds and York, this is the area I grew up in and have memories of pinching holly from Bramham Park for my mother’s Christmas decorations........... I digress............

Following the cancellation of Badminton and Chatsworth, the Bramham organisers stepped up to help accommodate the many riders looking to compete. They worked out how to extend the already-packed programme and ensure that all riders who need a run, have a run and that selectors get the chance to see their riders in action.  The event dates remain 7th – 10th June but cross-country will now run over two days on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th. Over 500 horses will take part during the four days in the Yorkshire Park, with the CCI3* and CIC3* eventing competitions being the highlights of the trials.  This year's trials also form the last qualifying opportunity for any British Olympic eventing hopefuls. 

The Red Devils Parachute Display team will be making a guest appearance on the Saturday and of course, as with all great equestrian events, there will be family entertainment and shopping opportunities to cater for all tastes.

Luckily Bramham Park rests on limestone-rich soil so the heavy rain has left the ground in good condition and actually helped excellent grass growth leaving a rich green covering, as can be seen in the photo above.  The event build-up is well on schedule and has been unaffected by the weather which makes life a little easier for course designer Ian Stark.

2010 was Ian's first year as Course Designer at Bramham, and the course he produced resulted in a fantastic days' competition with a fair amount of harmless head scratching for the riders, but with faults spread evenly around the course, together with a good proportion of clear rounds, it proved to be the perfect course for this level of competition!  Ian says he feels very honoured and privileged to be able to design at such a prestigious event and in such glorious parkland, not forgetting all the support from both the Event and the Estate.  "Bramham has a special place in my eventing memories, having won here 4 times*. Little did I think when I first rode here in the Novice three day event way back in 1979 that I would be asked back to design the course here - where did all those years go?"

Event Director Nicholas Pritchard commented; “It was one of the most difficult decisions to make, but ironically, almost one of the easiest!  The calendar has been devastated by the weather – riders and horses need to compete and fans have missed the action so we knew that if we could make it work, we simply had to.  We’re looking forward to welcoming riders from all over the world for what potentially could be the most important competition of their lives and hope we can rescue the season for many.  We’re anticipating taking nearly 100 additional horses across the CIC*** and CCI*** classes.   We have a huge challenge ahead but we have a great ‘home team’ at Bramham and I know if any event can make it work, it’s us!”

This year also sees Bramham using the Aussie technology created by Cross Country App which enables riders and spectators to download the course with photos, videos and comments. An intelligent course map will also be available on the Bramham website

An Eventful Life will start coverage of the event with the trot up on Wednesday and Libby Law will be bringing us her collection of photographs throughout the weekend


*Ian won Bramham four times — in 1983 (Sir Wattie), 1984 (Charlie Brown IV), 1985 (Deansland) and 1996 (Forest Glen).