The rain didn’t stop the dressage superstars from dazzling the brave bank of spectators on day three of the NAF Five Star Hartpury International Horse Trials.
But while the big names led the way again as excitement builds for the weekend’s action, Hartpury’s eventing finest also shone on their home stage.
Jules Ennis, who just graduated from the Equestrian Sports Science degree at Hartpury, produced a lovely test on Cooley O with a score of 49.3in the Optimum CCI*. Another former Hartpury student, Robert Barker, who is based in Upleadon, also excelled in the CCI 1*, with a score of 44.6 riding Loose Talk.
French international event rider, Astier Nicolas, competed on Molakai in the CIC 3* and produced an excellent test to score 43.4 and finish just outside the top 10. The BSc Equine Science graduate and Hartpury Equine Academy scholar has competed up to 4* level and won the Bramham Under-25s CCI 3* class.
William Fox-Pitt took top spot in the 3* on Bay My Hero with an exceptional test scoring 37.1 with Elisabeth Halliday occupying second spot after a score of 38.9 on Fernhill by Night. Fox Pitt was also in third spot on 39.1 on Fernhill Pimms.
Thomas Carlile sat at the summit of the Magic CCI** with a score of 34.4 on Upsilon, with Brook Staples second with 37.4 on Doonaveeragh and Pippa Funnell and Billy Cuckoo third on 38.4.
Caroline Harris led the way in the 1* with 37.5 on Billy Bumble ahead of Tom Jackson, who had another good day on Dowalda with a score of 38.5. Willa Newton was third on Caja 20 with a score of 40.1.
The NAF Five Star International Hartpury Horse Trials reaches its pinnacle tomorrow as excitement builds for cross-country day.
Philip Cheetham, Equine Events Director at Hartpury, said: “We’ve had an excellent first few days of competition and even Friday’s downpours did not dampen anyone’s spirits! The Horse Trials got off to a cracking start on Wednesday as we got the chance to witness the very best young horses and riders who will be the future stars of three day eventing.
“On Thursday, we saw crowd favourite, the legendary Pippa Funnell, finish the day occupying the top two spots in the CIC*** dressage and there was an incredible test by Tom Jackson, who finished a long way ahead of the field in the 1*, setting up a really exciting third day which featured promising performances by some talented young riders with Hartpury connections.
“But of course, it’s the action on our three exciting cross-country courses on Saturday that everyone is talking about, and all this rain means the ground has softened for the horses.
“It’s the pinnacle of the Horse Trials and with lots of sunshine forecast, it’s all set to be a great day with the chance to see superstars like William Fox-Pitt in action, along with French international rider Astier Nicolas, who was in the Equine Academy here at Hartpury.”
Admission on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th is charged at £10 per person.
To stay up to date with the latest news and results, go to www.hartpuryhorsetrials.co.uk follow @hartpuryHT on twitter and visit the Facebook page.