Bramham 2013: Stark unveils cross country challenge

10th June 2012.   Bramham International Horse Trials at Bramham Park, Wetherby. Lucy Wiegersma rides Simon Porloe during the CIC*** cross country event.
10th June 2012. Bramham International Horse Trials at Bramham Park, Wetherby. Lucy Wiegersma rides Simon Porloe during the CIC*** cross country event.

Ian Stark has unveiled his cross country test for this year’s 40th anniversary Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials, which begin on June 6.

For his fourth year in charge, the former Olympic rider has introduced some new fences, re-sited some favourites and made great use of the undulations of the historic Bramham Park which is reported to provide perfect going for the horses.

While Ian provides the vision, master craftsman David Evans and his team bring the fences to reality and they’ve been busy with their chain saw art once again.

Over 140 riders from 11 countries will do battle across the three eventing contests, the Equi-Trek CCI3*, the British Equestrian Trade Association CIC3* and the Bishop Burton College U25 CCI3* and all will tackle Ian’s course on Saturday June 8.

The start and finish of the cross country is at one of the highest areas in the Park with great views of the course, not that the competitors will have time to take it in as they set off to fence one, the Yorkshire Post Garden which gives a nice introduction.

Fence two sees a new location for the ‘loud’ Leeds Festival Wall, at fence three in past years, before the Bramham Arch at three.

The first combination comes at four, the Alan Chappelow Stick Piles which Ian feels ‘should help the horses’ confidence for later, but will need to be ridden forward.’

A long gallop to the Fulmart Feeds Brush at five leads to the iconic park feature, the Round House where the horses tackle the Equi-Trek Round House. Then on to the big Equi-Trek Leap which comes quickly and will need positive riding.

The friendly Triple Brush at eight is at the bottom of Lord Bingley’s Walk and gives an easy jump before the next combination, the Suregrow Fertiliser Owl Hole which will test accuracy of both horse and rider.

On to a beautiful fence next at ten, the Joules Clothing London 2012 Chess Table but riders won’t stop to admire as it’s a run down to the first water, the Kidney Pool, fence 11, which, having run downhill, will test balance and bravery but Ian says that good riding will be rewarded.

There is a time wasting alternative for those who want to play safe or have a mishap.

The Horse and Hound Leap of Faith at 12 is dramatic and for the professionals and amateurs alike should produce some great photographs. The Harringtons’ Dog Kennel (13) leads to the old fashioned Woodheads Seeds Hollow which Ian guarantees will leave some riders guessing on the best route through.

Fence 15 is time for an ice cream at the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream Cones and then it’s into the Front Park.

The Yorkshire Equine Practice Footbridge (16) features again and is followed by the Carter Jonas Sun and Moon which has been moved to a hollow to give a great, if a little scary feature, but should jump well.

The Generator Power Brush (18) is followed by the British Equestrian Trade Association Sheep Feeder and on to this year’s new feature fence to celebrate the event’s milestone 40th birthday fence at 20 & 21, the Speedi-Beet 40.

In the shape of a ‘40’, a corner, with alternative, to a downhill double of oxers will require some big jumping so horses will need to still be fresh.

Down to the spectators’ favourite haunt, the main water complex, the Bond Dickinson Pond and the first two elements test trust between horse and rider to a twist at the final element where holding a good line after the big brush and drop might be tricky.

A gallop to the Aardvark Trakehner (23) then the last climb to the offset brush fences at 24, the Longhorn Question and to the welcome sight of the final fence, the Askham Bryan College Seat. Riders who successfully negotiate Ian’s 2013 test will then be raising a glass to a job well done.