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Monday, 7 August 2017

Hendersyde Park Horse Trials

After filling up on a full English breakfast at the delicious Running Fox in Longframlington, we headed through the beautiful Northumberland countryside and up to the Scottish border town, Kelso, to enjoy an afternoon of showjumping and cross country at Hendersyde Park Horse Trials. The event boasts stunning views over and along the River Tweed, and runs on good old fashioned turf, in surroundings typical of the area.

I was only ever fortunate to be able to run once here, back in 2013 in the BE90. There must be something about the events in the Borders as both Floors and Hendersyde featured highly on my favourites list. I liked Hendersyde as soon as I got there, but it also has a VERY happy memory of mine and Thomas' only ever British Eventing rosette - a 7th place. We got an OK dressage score (33) and a couple of time penalties, but a CLEAR ROUND - something extremely rare with Thomas (I think he only managed 5 across his six seasons). So I added a few extra favourite points to the event too!! 😉

It was fab to see some friends who used to be on the same yard as me finish their cross country as they arrived. She hasn't had the best run of luck this season with her horse being in and out of lameness. So it was amazing to hear that she'd come fourth in the horse's first BE100 AND they've only been together for two weeks!! A hop, skip and a jump...they make it look very easy!!

Back to the event...

We headed to the showjumping, but a class change meant that we started out on the cross country. There had been a couple of changes to the course since I did it back in 2013, but there were still some friendly facing fences that I recognised - such as the Elephant, fish & two water complexes.

Hendersyde Park Horse Trials Cross Country - Water Complex 1
Hendersyde Park Horse Trials Cross Country - Water Complex 1

Water Complex 2 - upturned boat and out to some friendly fish!
Water Complex 2 - upturned boat and out to some friendly fish!

Elephant jump at Hendersyde Park Horse Trials Cross Country
Wild adventure as you skip over the Elephant in the Novice. Also
featured in the BE90 & BE100

Although when we arrived the sun was shining and there was a bit of a breeze, the skies soon greyed over & the rain decided to join us for the afternoon. But it didn't spoil our fun, as we enjoyed the cross country action from the Novice Scottish Championship and Novice classes running. It was great to see some of the more established combinations battling it out for their place in the Championship, as well as seeing some combinations also making their first step up to Novice level.

Hendersyde Park Horse Trials is one of the more low events in terms of spectators, with just a handful of equestrian and countryside lifestyle stalls to browse around, but it did boast a crepe van and a coffee house that make scrumptious hot chocolate - a great treat after a walk around the course.

Although lower key on the side of shopping, Hendersyde still has a great competitive atmosphere with Scottish Championships taking place for BE90, BE100 and Novice classes. The show jumping arena is undulating, with secretaries, scorers and corporate marquees around it, as well as a few flag banners which put a few horses on their toes. I really like this showjumping arena - too many now seem to be fixed on providing a flat and even surface for this phase.

Hendersyde Park Horse Trials Showjumping Arena
Hendersyde Park Horse Trials Showjumping Arena
Fortunately, the secretary's marquee offered seats for anyone wanting to watch the showjumping undercover, which actually gave a great viewing place for watching combination jump around. There was a very mixed bag of performance - lots of clear rounds in the time but also lots of retirements and eliminations. Perhaps the weather and greasy ground played to different competitors' advantages & disadvantages...

There was also a second arena running with showjumping and cross country style fences, holding a teams competition which also involved an element of Countryside Challenge / TREC. It was interesting to watch and begin to see how the competition unfolded as the teams came through.

After relaxing by the showjumping for an hour or so, we were ready to head home. I was quite surprised to find only a half full wagon park as we headed back to the car, as well as many spectators also leaving.

One of the afternoon's highlights has to have been Harry jumping the ditch in the BE80 course - he loved it!! At one point leaping it from about 3ft back and about 5ft in the air, but then running madly around, jumping the ditch, running around the tree and back over the ditch. It definitely left Andrew in a muddled knot with Harry's extendable lead. Even for non-horsey spectators, horse trials are a good day out for anyone who loves being in the countryside - my very non-horsey Mum enjoyed the walk around and watching the showjumping, and being able to relax, take a picnic and walk the dog around the cross country is, for me, a great way to unwind at the weekend!

Cross country fun at Hendersyde Park Horse Trials
Harry & Andrew enjoying spending time together
on the cross country course!
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  1. I love a good cross country course- that elephant is amazing! Beautiful country and looks an amazing day for the family. My oldest daughter prefers to watch the showjumping but I prefer watching cross country. Speed and incredibly challenging.

    1. I LOVE all three phases - dressage, showjumping and cross country! :)


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