Weather didn’t dampen Sunny Spirit at Belsay
Success for International, Regional and Local Riders

A weekend of cloudy weather didn’t dampen spirits at Belsay Horse Trials –  2nd and 3rd June 2018. Visitors enjoyed a fantastic two days of sporting action, family entertainment and fun, with highlights including a brand new water complex, The Barbour Splash, a wide selection of different trade stands, fair-ground rides, dog agility and, new for 2018, an Inter-Hunt Relay competition.
The new, additional water complex was an exciting addition to the cross-country course, which is designed by Adrian Ditcham. The ‘Barbour Splash’, which incorporated fences 8 and 9 on the way in and out, provided plenty of action for competitors and spectators alike throughout the weekend.
Adjacent to Belsay Castle and the new water complex was another new feature for this year’s event: ‘The Spirit of Freedom’, a life-size sculpture made from horse shoes and surrounded by 100 poppies, was created by James Kemish, a part-time artist from Pelton, Co. Durham, as a memorial to the eight million horses that perished during World War I.
Laura de Wesselow, organiser commented: “We have had a brilliant, action packed weekend with no injuries to horses or riders. Competitors were full of praise for the event, our team and all our fabulous volunteers. We had done a lot of work to ensure that our ground was good and I think it was perfect – the best in the country. We are now pushing for an international event here at Belsay so watch this space!”
Entries were full and Belsay was delighted to welcome a host of well-known local, regional and international event riders. Nicola Wilson, still recovering from a nasty knee injury sustained at Richmond Horse Trials in May, brought just one horse for the Womble Bond Dickinson sponsored Novice Regional Final Section D and won. Elite Jaguar, owned by Pauline Fletcher, who lives locally and hunts with the Tynedale, will now head to the Novice Championships at Gatcombe in August.
The Auchindenny Carnegie Trophy for the highest-placed Northumbrian rider across the Novice Classes went to Veera Peltokangas, who although Finnish, lives in Longframlington and was second in the Brewin Dolphin Novice Section A on WaterLily XI. The section was won by well-known regional rider, James Adams, riding Mrs Tracey Milner’s Bejewel.
Local lad and up and coming Young Rider, Harry Mutch, won the UBS Wealth Management Novice Section B Carole Mutch’s HD The One. Harry also had two rides in the Lycetts Open Intermediate Under 21 Section H, Ramilo and HD Bronze, but withdrew them after dressage as both horses head to Bramham this week to compete in the CIC***. The Lycetts Open Intermediate Under 21 Section H was won by another up and coming Young Rider from North Yorkshire, Charlotte Dennis, on Darrango, while second place went to Argentina’s Sebastian Roldan Olivero, who is stable jockey to international event rider Ben Hobday, based in Longhorsley.
Eilidh Macaulay from Scotland took the win in the JR Holland Open Novice Under 18 Section C on Casper Z with a 22.8 dressage and double clear. Second place went to Connie Warde-Aldham on Altaskin Merlin, who was also awarded the highest place Queen Margaretian Rosette and Sash. Queen Margarets School also sponsored the BE100 Open Under 18 Section I, which was won by Huddersfield’s Amy Ross. Local lad, Sam Harrison, was 10th.
Zoe Rymer, from Driffield in North Yorkshire, won the Vardags Intermediate Novice Section E on Bishopshall Golden Beach.
The winner of one of the biggest classes of the day, the Barbour sponsored Intermediate Section F, was Sam York from Newark in Lincolnshire on her own Oakring Dalliance. Sam was absolutely delighted with her visit to Belsay and praised the organisers for such a professionally run and friendly event. Local 3* eventer, Jay Ryder from Wooler, was third in the class on Faith Full, owned by the Northstar Syndicate.
Jessica McKie, also from Wooler, is always successful at Belsay and this year was no exception. She won the Cussins Homes Open Intermediate Section G on Mrs Victoria McKie’s Ask the Boss. Veera Peltokangas from Longframlington was second on Silver Minnie.
International Event Rider and field master for the Tynedale Hunt, Jamie Atkinson, from Langley Co. Durham was also in the ribbons this weekend. He took first and second in the Savage Silk BE100 Section J on his mothers IGW and Miss Philippa Nixon’s Hallo Quality Penny. Jamie was also fifth in the section on Stephen Rankin’s Cooley Empire. Stephen Rankin, from Ponteland, was also placed in the section, coming 9th on his on Edouard Van Het Cabernhol.
On Sunday, competition started with the BE90 Sections and local riders did very well. Kirsty Cordner, from Stamfordham, rode her own Goulane Swatchey Boy to victory in the Rural Solutions BE90 Section L, with Jackie Tait from Choppington was second on Manor House Merry Mate Boy, and Laura Fenwick from Angerton Steads third on Completely Starkers, owned by David Nicholson who lives in Belsay. The Ryecroft Glenton BE90 Section M was won by the Hobday team’s Sebastian Roldan Olivera on Shadow Sapphire with Rachel Clark, who rides for Parkend Equestrian’s Charlotte Ridley, second on Wot Glamour.
North Yorkshire’s Laura Ritchie-Bland won the Le Petit Chateau BE100 Section N on Sunday with HTS Hobson Dee. Jennifer Lange from Peebleshire in the Borders was 7th on Desdamona in the same section, which was also awarded the Gill Gilberston Memorial Trophy for the Highest Placed re-trained racehorse in the BE100 and BE90 classes on Sunday.
The Land Factor BE100 Section O was won by Elizabeth Ostle on Glaramara Luca. Charlotte Dennis took third and fourth place in the class.
Philippa Nixon, from Little Whittington, was a popular winner in the Equine Products BE100 Open Section P riding Mrs Jane Peters’ Wyndham Spring Watch. Event Organiser Martyn Johnson from Alnwick Ford was second on Patrickswell Scorpion and Helen Self Dodd from Elsdon was third on Wee McPea.
The final section of the weekend, the Clarke Mairs Novice Section Q was won by Hartlepool’s Sophie Wall on Primitive Pronto with Bedale’s Sara Bowe second on Erbentico VB and local rider Mark Jackson, from Meldon, third on Mr Bob Charlton’s Linnel Dance Again.
This year, competitors were able to purchase videos of their cross-country rounds made by specialist video company ‘An Eventful Life’, who were visiting Belsay for the first time and had cameras positioned all around the beautiful parkland to cover every fence. ‘An Eventful Life’ also provided free videos to the winners of six sections on Saturday.
Belsay was once again supported by a wide range of sponsors, led by Barbour, Womble Bond Dickinson, Ryecroft Glenton and Land Factor. Two major new sponsors joined the roster this year, law firm Clarke Mairs LLP and Voltaire Design, maker of the most beautiful bespoke saddles, used by many top riders including Oliver Townsend, Tina Cook and Gemma Tattersall. Voltaire had a trade stand at Belsay and were offering specialist saddle fittings over the weekend.
Tynedale Team One, consisting of Jack Thomas Watson, William Pittendrigh and Julie Hall on horses with Kennel Huntsman Andrew Higgins on the Quad, were the winners of the The Inter-Hunt Relay Competition. Sponsored by Jobling Purser, this was another exciting new addition to Belsay, and took place in the main arena after the Show Jumping finished on Sunday afternoon.
Laura de Wesselow, organiser, commented: “We had a total of nine teams competing from the Tynedale, Morpeth, Haydon, Border and Zetland Hunts in full hunting dress with commentary from the infamous Frankie Walton. I think you would call it organised chaos but it was great fun, a fantastic spectacle and much enjoyed by everyone.”
On Saturday, the British Show Pony Society’s Area 1a hosted a show in Arena 2, which was very well attended and included the Belsay Event Pony Class sponsored by Mowden Hall School, won by William Pittendrigh. On Sunday, there was Pony Club Show Jumping, sponsored by Gibson & Co. The South Northumberland Pony Club were awarded the Theresa Gibson Memorial Trophy for winning the hotly contested Junior competition; while the Braes of Derwent won the Senior Competition.
Belsay Horse Trials raised money for two charities this year, Morpeth Riding for the Disabled and the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation – which has been set up by local hero Doddie Weir to raise funds to aid research into the causes of Motor Neurone Disease and make grants to individuals suffering from it. £3,030 was raised from raffles held in the Corporate Hospitality Tent over both days.
Best wishes,
Laura and Peter de Wesselow 

About Us

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens are open to the public and managed by English Heritage. The surrounding Grade 1 listed parkland that is the venue for the horse trials, is maintained by The Belsay Trust.

Belsay has a wonderful equestrian heritage. The Middleton family, which has owned the estate for more than 800 years, bred and trained racehorses here in the 18th and 19th centuries and even won the St Leger at Doncaster in 1859 with a horse called Gamester.

The beautiful stables at the Hall are still in evidence as is the old Stallion Park, situated at the bottom of Bantom Hill adjacent to the Castle.

Belsay Horse Trials is organised by Laura and Peter de Wesselow, who live at Belsay and represent the current generation of the Middleton family, alongside a committee of volunteers.

Our thanks must go to all of our very generous sponsors, whose financial support has been so crucial in setting up Belsay Horse Trials. We are also extremely grateful to all the doctors, veterinary surgeons, farriers, judges, starters, timekeepers, jump judges, scorers and the many volunteers who give up their time so generously and without whose help running this event would not be possible.

Belsay – A View from the Sky

Contact Us

01661 881 206
07889 437237

Belsay Horse Trials
Belsay Estate office
NE20 0DX