The Blenheim Palace International horse Trials is in its 19th year of running and is now firmly established in the eventing calendar with the world's best riders as well as the thousands of spectators who come each year to watch the event.
Dressage, the first phase of the competition in which a series of pre-set movements are judged subjectively, takes place all day on Thursday and Friday against the magnificent backdrop of Blenheim Palace.
Cross-country day and the pivotal part of the whole competition is Saturday for the CCI3* and on Sunday for the CIC3* (see below for more information). Competitors take on the challenge of the big, solid fences and water jumps across the River Glyme on a timed course which runs around the parkland.
The show jumping is the nail biting finale for the CCI3*on Sunday. Riders will show jump throughout the day in reverse order of merit, with the order having been decided after cross-country phase. Accuracy and skill is at a premium in this high-pressure phase, in which a single mistake can completely alter the leader board, and only the best will triumph, thus making the winner of the CCI3* Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials a worthy champion.
In addition to the eventing action there are lots of other activities in the main arena plus activities in the second arena, with the Dodson & Horrell-sponsored Pony Club and Riding Clubs team competition on Thursday and Friday, a range of eqestrian and other display, plus all the shops – more than 175!!
NEW for 2009 is a CIC3* class this is a 'star spotter' class aimed at 8 and 9 year olds who are detsined for great things! With Dressage on the Friday, Show jumping on Saturday and the Cross Country on Sunday - the later over a slightly shorter and not quite so demanding course, this is not as exacting as the CCI3* but is a key step on the pathway of those aiming for CCI3* and beyond in the future. A maximum of 40 horses will be invited to compete.