Picture special: Brazilian temperatures welcome equestrian elite as Rio countdown begins with Bramham Horse Trials

SPECTATORS basked in Rio de Janeiro temperatures as riders looked to seal a ticket there on day one of the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials on Thursday.

Four weeks before Team GB’s selectors name their quartet of three-day eventers heading to the Rio Olympics, an array of top-class riders strutted their stuff at Bramham, in front of sun-basked crowds surrounding the dressage arena.

Bramham International Horse Trails. Ben Way, on Willows Tipster taking part in the British Equestrain Trade Association CIC*** dressage event. Picture James Hardisty.

Bramham International Horse Trails. Ben Way, on Willows Tipster taking part in the British Equestrain Trade Association CIC*** dressage event. Picture James Hardisty.

Eight Yorkshire riders were on duty - with Oliver Townend, Nicola Wilson and Holly Woodhead all holding live hopes of boarding the plane to South America, with James Sommerville, Phil Brown, Hazel Towers, Sophie Platt and Charlotte Brear dreaming of international joys in the long term future.

An estimated 9,000 spectators, meanwhile, were more than happy to bask in the here and now with shades, shorts, Pimm’s and ice cream the order of the day as blue skies accompanied temperatures of 21 degrees centigrade.

As the sun beamed down on busy shops and trade stands, that temperature equaled what Rio De Janiero could offer, much to the delight of event director Nick Pritchard.

“Sunshine always helps,” he beamed.

Nigel Clayton, writing the results on the scoreboard. Picture James Hardisty.

Nigel Clayton, writing the results on the scoreboard. Picture James Hardisty.

“Everyone is smiling so it’s all good.

“If we had four days of sunshine I would like to say we would get 60,000 people over four days which would be nice and would be a record break.

“A couple of years ago when we had some fairly good weather we had about 58,500 or something like that over four days.

“When the weather is like this there’s lots of shorts out, lots of Pimm’s being drunk and lots of ice cream. But I don’t think there’s a real theme - other than just enjoying it.

Pictured Sophie Dambrosio, 18, from Scotland, enjoying her Pimms. Picture James Hardisty.

Pictured Sophie Dambrosio, 18, from Scotland, enjoying her Pimms. Picture James Hardisty.

“Everyone is smiling and it’s just a happy, relaxed atmosphere which is what we want.”

The forecast is less kind for Friday, but Pritchard declared: “I am going with the positive mental attitude approach that if everyone thinks positive and everyone wishes positive then the weather will be good tomorrow. Let’s just go with that as well.”

Action continues over the next three days with Friday offering late night shopping. Entrance is free after 4pm and shops are open until 8pm.

Crowds watching the British Equestrain Trade Association CIC*** dressage event. Picture James Hardisty.

Crowds watching the British Equestrain Trade Association CIC*** dressage event. Picture James Hardisty.