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Press Release                                                        4th June 2019

Belsay Horse Trials 2019 – A Dry Run for 2020!

The rain just about stayed away, and both visitors and competitors enjoyed a fantastic two days of sport, family entertainment and fun at Belsay Horse Trials last weekend.  So, as organisers Laura and Peter de Wesselow upscaled the event in preparation for going international next year, it was in every sense of the word, a dry run for 2020!

Laura de Wesselow commented: “This year’s event was as action packed as ever, with a full roster of entries and some very exciting riders including several Badminton 2019 contenders, Ben Hobday, Wills Oakden, Hazel Towers and Harry Mutch.  Belsay has the support of some fantastic sponsors, led by Barbour, and we were thrilled that Dame Margaret Barbour attended the event on Saturday with friends and family.  The Womble Bond Dickinson sponsored Show Jumping Arena was surrounded by more than 40 trade stands, an array of food traders and a craft tent, as well as children’s fun fair rides and Go Karts, which were a great attraction for families.”

Belsay welcomed a host of well-known local, regional and international event riders.  Team Hobday, led by husband and wife Ben and Emma, enjoyed success with a lorry load of horses both days, including two that are heading to Bramham this weekend: Shadowman (Ben) and Shadow Puppet (Emma), who were 1st and 3rd in the most prestigious class of the weekend, the Open Intermediate Section G class.  Emma also won the BE100 Section O on Shadow Star Quality.

Charlotte Parry-Ashcroft from North Wales made the long journey worthwhile with two wins: with Harthill Storm in the Novice Section A, and on Will Jack B King in the Novice Regional Final Section E, which qualifies for the Novice Championships at Gatcombe in August.  Lucinda Atkinson, from North Yorkshire, was 4th in the NRF on PRF Jaguar Elite and, as the rider closest to the optimum time, won the Mark Halliday Trophy.

The Auchindenny Carnegie Trophy for the Highest Placed Northumbrian Rider in the Novice Sections went to local rider Pip Nixon, who was second in the Novice Section B on PRF Divo Mail.  The section was won by well-known regional rider, James Adams riding Mrs Tracy Milner’s Bejewel.

Scottish International Rider Wills Oakden was also in the ribbons at Belsay, winning the Intermediate Novice Section D on Cracker Jack II, with Ben Hobday in second on Mile High.  Wills was also second in the Novice Regional Final on Macgregors Cooley, and scored another second with Cooley Cadbury in Intermediate Section F, which was won by Alexandra Farrar-Fry from West Yorkshire on Santiago S.

Well known local amateur rider Stephen Rankin rode several horses over the weekend, scoring a win on Sunday with Cooley Empire in the BE90 Section N.  Italy’s Pietro di Marchi won BE90 Section M on Legal Graffiti, while local rider Laura Fenwick from Angerton won BE90 Section L on Rustenberg Diamond.

One of the most popular winners of the weekend was Mark Jackson from Meldon, who won BE100 Open Section Q on Linnel Dance Again, owned by the late Bobby Charlton and his wife Sarah.  Bobby, who helped run Hexham Horse Trials for 25 years, died recently and Mark dedicated the win to this great man.

Belsay is a great supporter of youth eventing and always hosts the U21 and U18 classes.  This year winners were delighted to receive a bridle from Voltaire Design alongside the normal prize money and winners’ rug – Brianna Tweddall from County Durham won the ONU18 Section C on Lisboy Buachaill, with Hexham based Sam Harrison second, Connie Gill from Northallerton won the OI U21 Section H on Florida II, while Co Durham’s Olivia Graham won the BE100 U18 Section I on Sara Deary’s A Tale of Two Shivers.

Laura de Wesselow said: “Of course, youth eventing will be a great focus for 2020, when Belsay goes International and hosts the British Pony Championships and a CCIS** class.  As a family, we have been involved in Pony Trials since 2016, so we are thrilled that now we can give something back to the sport by hosting this prestigious championship at Belsay.”

The British Pony Championships is the pinnacle of the Pony Trials Series, currently sponsored by Charles Owen, for riders aged 16 years and under riding ponies (14.0hh – 14.2hh).  It represents the toughest test for pony riders and is run as a long format international competition over three days to give potential GB Pony Team members vital experience for the European Pony Championships, which take place in August every year.

Past Pony Trials competitors who have gone on to enjoy success through Junior, Young Rider and Senior ranks in British Eventing include local heroes Ben Hobday and Jamie Atkinson, as well as other top young eventers including Laura Collett, Bubby Upton, Yazmin Ingham, Sam Ecroyd and Richard Coney.

Laura continues “We have one of the most stunning British Eventing venues which has excellent road access, being only 10 miles from the A1.  We have lots of exciting plans for our International Fixtures in 2020 and can promise all our competitors that they will be very well looked after, with fantastic facilities, generous prize money and some great entertainment.”

Belsay Horse Trials already has the infrastructure in place to host an international event, with a specially designed ‘International Arena’ which has state of the art sports drainage, as well as a cross country course, which will be re-designed for 2020 by Adrian Ditcham, who was responsible for the track at the 2018 European Pony Championships held at Bishop Burton.

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For further information, please contact Laura de Wesselow on 01661881206 or 07889 437237


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.

Contact Us

01661 881 206
07889 437237

Belsay Horse Trials
Belsay Estate office
NE20 0DX