What a thrill it is to return to Yorkshire’s Bramham International Horse Trials and particularly, to its first horse inspection, which is held in front of the grand façade of the estate’s showpiece: the Lane Fox family’s expansive 18th-century vintage Bramham Hall. Rather fittingly, Bramham’s architecture was inspired by the traditional ‘Grand Tour’ of Europe and the French styles of architecture and landscaping at the time – nowadays, of course, we see French riders attend the event en masse, as well as competitors from further afield.
Before any of them can start the battle for the Bramham crowns in earnest, though, they need to make it through this first inspection — and even before the event gets going, there’s always a little bit of drama sprinkled throughout proceedings.
Just one horse per class was held in the horse inspections, which were run consecutively: in the main CCI4*-L class, France’s Sylvain Davesne and Atout Coeur Theod ended their week early when the horse was spun upon reinspection.
In the CCI4*-L for under-25’s, Great Britain’s Xanthe Goldsack was also sent to the box with her Hi Tech, though the 13-year-old gelding was subsequently accepted. Each of the CCI4*-L classes has the same ground jury: Polly Ann Huntington takes on the president role, ably assisted by Annabel Scrimgeour and Xavier le Sauce.
Two riders were given special nods for their trot-up outfits, too: Ireland’s Susie Berry took the Best-Dressed Female prize, and will pilot Helen Caton’s Ringwood LB and Monbeg By Design in the CCI4*-L, while Christopher Whittle, who rides Skip Mill in the same class, took the Best Dressed Male honours.
Now, 62 horse-and-rider combinations will begin their week in earnest in the CCI4*-L, while 21 go forward for the under-25 CCI4*-L. Though they didn’t have to contend with a horse inspection today, there’s also a hot line-up in the Land Rover-sponsored CCI4*-S class, with 77 combinations set to start.
Tomorrow’s first day of competition begins at 9.30 a.m. as the first CCI4*-L horse takes to the arena, followed on by the under-25 class from 2.52 p.m. The CCI4*-S class will run in an adjacent arena, presided over by ground jury president Nick Burton and members Nikki Herbert and Faith Ponsonby.
You can find times for the CCI4*-L here, the CCI4*-L for under-25s here, and the CCI4*-S here. Though there isn’t a live-stream running throughout the competition, you’ll be able to watch along as competitors tackle Ian Stark’s famously beefy course on Saturday via Horse&Country TV — and, as always, we’ll be bringing you bumper reports every day with all the updates and insights you need from the world’s premier CCI4*-L. Go Eventing!