Another year has rolled by. It seems like only a few months ago that I was enjoying the sunshine at Blenheim Horse Trials. It’s one of my all time favourite events, and should be on your horizon this weekend. For me this event has everything – the opulent surroundings of Blenheim Palace, and probably the most mature parkland you’re ever likely to find, plus great competition with 2 advanced classes that are hotly contested.
Here’s the good news for your Blenheim week ahead:
1. Michael Jung Isn’t Competing
After a clean sweep over the last two weekends, with a win at Burghley & double gold at the European Championships at Blair, Michael has clearly decided to take a break. [Cue small cheer from the riders tent]. Michael Jung is proving very hard to beat right now. I think I’m right in saying that the only German in the field is Kai Rüder. Blenheim is an autumn/fall target for many and the CCI*** class is stacked with talent, plus I don’t think I’ve seen such a large contingent from the US here before (except maybe in the run up to London 2012).
The CIC*** class is the one I really look forward to as it tends to bring out the very best young horses around. Just as well Michael isn’t competing!
2. “It’s a true test and the time will be tight”
….according to Eric Winter (the course designer), who suggests it will also “prepare them well for four star”. The course runs clockwise this year and the track takes a new route towards Blenheim’s picturesque first water crossing through the trees, where riders must throttle back their speed to tackle two big carts – the Initiative Challenge Timber Wagons.
Fresh changes to the track layout always spring a few surprises. If I was a rider I’d be chatting up Chris Burton on his course walk to find out his game plan, given his performance at Burghley. I’m looking forward to walking the course later today.
3. The Weekend Weather Forecast Is Good
Like any true Brit, I always have one eye on the weather forecast! According to the BBC news channel’s weatherman ‘Tropical Storm Henri’ has been responsible for the spate of rain we’re currently experiencing, but a shift in the Jet Stream on Thursday will leave us with an area of high pressure and warm sunshine for the weekend. See, we like talking about the weather us Brits.
Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials runs 17th-20th September. You can find out all you need to know on their website:
See you there!