The jewel in the crown of the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials has been unveiled for this year’s event (9 – 12 June) - Ian Stark’s cross country courses.
Around 170 horse and riders will tackle the courses on Saturday over the four competitions, the showcase Equi-Trek CCI3*, the Bishop Burton College U25 CCI3*, the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC3* and inaugural Bramham leg of the Event Rider Masters.
A result of 11 months of planning, siting and building, Ian has again set the riders a stunning test of bravery, accuracy and stamina using the features of the parkland.
The fences are all expertly crafted by David Evans and his team. The Bramham Estate staff have lovingly nurtured the track throughout the winter and now spring has sprung, the ‘green carpet’ is nearly ready for the galloping hooves.
Ian Stark commented: “I can’t believe it’s my seventh year – where has the time gone! It feels like only yesterday that I went through the nervous agonies of my first CCI3* with Bramham.
“It’s been such a fantastic park to work in with amazing features and I enjoy being able to set a test for the riders which utilises them along with combining good, old fashioned bravery and modern thinking.
“This year’s course encompasses just that so I’m looking forward to seeing brave horses and riders rewarded, perhaps even with a spot in Rio.”
Riders will start off at the highest part of the Park over one, the Yorkshire Post Garden and quickly on to the Aardvark Safaris Roll Top at two. The first major change to the course comes in the form of a double at the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream Cones.
Riders can open the horses up towards the fourth, the Supreme Products Question, a big-standing combination with plenty of alternatives. The quick straight route requires positivity and holding a line but there’s a time consuming route for those who daren’t risk an early error.
The first question at the Equi-Trek Round House is a set of narrow rails which should put horses on the right striding to go up a step to ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ who makes a return.
The Leeds Festival Wall at the bottom of Lord Bingley’s Walk at fence seven pays homage to the Park’s other main event.
And the ‘rider frightener’ Equi-Trek Leap has been replaced by a narrower version to increase the scare factor.
The final major challenge on the course is the Bond Dickinson Pond at 22. Being only four fences from home, it takes some major jumping.
On the way home they gallop up the hill and over the Yorkshire Cruise Club Trakehner (24) and on to the Land Rover Above and Beyond where riders will need to hold their line to avoid 20 penalties.
The Event Rider Masters Finale is at the finish at 27.