Top Riders Head to Alnwick Ford International Horse Trials

Feature image British rider Willa Newton competing at Alnwick Ford International. Image credit Lottie Elizabeth Photography.
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Alnwick Ford International Horse Trials (21-25 June) has received its highest-ever number of entries, with nine different countries represented in its international CCI3*-S and CCI2*-S classes. Among them are former world number one Oliver Townend, Irish championship rider Joseph Murphy, former European champion and multiple Olympic medallist Ian Stark, New Zealand CCI5* winner Caroline Powell and rising star of the sport, 21-year-old Alice Casburn.

Alnwick Ford has quickly become renowned for its excellent conditions in all phases for horses and riders, its friendly atmosphere and its exciting, educational cross-country courses, created by Olympic course-builder and top designer David Evans.

But Britain’s best are also attracted by the huge prize pot on offer, courtesy of the Northumberland Challenge. Sponsored by AW Jenkinson Forest Products, Encon Technical Solutions and NIS Group Services Construction Ltd, the 2023 Northumberland Challenge offers horse and rider combinations entering the CCI2*-S and CCI3*-S classes at Belsay International, Alnwick Ford International and Burgham International (27-31 July) the opportunity to win cash bonuses of up to £20,000 for winning or being placed in the CCI2*-S and £25,000 for winning or being placed in the CCI3*-S.

Scotland’s Wills Oakden won the first leg of the CCI2*-S Northumberland Challenge at Belsay recently on Cooley Cando, with 2022 winner Oliver Townend second on Hialisca De Takan and North Northumberland’s Emily Orpwood third on Dinadan. Both Wills and Oliver will be vying for more Challenge points at Alnwick Ford.

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Reigning world champions Yasmin Ingham and Banzai Du Loir took the first of the three legs at CCI3*-S level at Belsay. Second to them was Alex Palmer on her own Global Supernova, while Wills Oakden finished third on Keep It Cooley.

As well as international FEI classes and British Eventing classes from BE80 to open intermediate level, Alnwick Ford hosts Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes for four- and five-year-olds. The winners of these qualify for the highly prestigious finals at Defender Burghley Horse Trials on 1 September.

Event Director Craig Anderson said:

It’s really exciting to see that we have such a bumper, high-quality number of entries, particularly in the international classes. All the best local riders are represented, and it is gratifying to see that so many famous faces are also travelling considerable distances to come to Alnwick Ford. Eventing in Northumberland is enjoying a truly purple patch with the ‘triple crown’ of Belsay, Alnwick Ford and of course Burgham, which has long been the principal preparation ground for all the UK’s leading riders and their top horses before the autumn major three-day events.”

Showjumping and cross-country at for the CCI3*-S and CCI2*-S and national novice and intermediate classes at Alnwick Ford takes place on Friday, 23 June, with dressage on Thursday, 22 June. At the weekend, there are novice, BE100, BE90 and BE80 classes, with all three phases of the competition taking place on one day.

Feature image British rider Willa Newton competing at Alnwick Ford International. Image credit Lottie Elizabeth Photography.

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