7 months ago



2018 SPECTATOR GUIDE Your must-see guide for 2018 Badminton, Burghley, Hickstead and HOYS may already be firmly penned in your diary, but make space for our pick of some of the best horsey days out for spectators that you might not know you’re missing

BEST FOR BREATHTAKING VIEWS Laytown Races When? 6 September Where? Laytown, Co. Meath What to expect: Every September hooves can be heard pounding along the beach at the small seaside resort of Laytown (main picture), 29 miles north of Dublin, for the only race event run on a beach under the Rules of the Turf Club. All races must be completed before the tide comes in — which adds to the drama — and although it’s busy you can see for miles, whether you’re on the beach itself or up in the stand. “The thrill of the horses thundering by on the saltwater sands is a unique and exhilarating experience,” says Co. Fermanaghbased writer Helen Sharp. “The weather can be ‘Irish’, so dress for cosy rather than catwalk and be sure to have a punt and some craic on one of the betting stands.” Tickets €10 Treborough Hill Horse Trials When? 23-24 June and 25-26 August Where? Treborough Hill, Somerset What to expect: If there was a competition for the highest geographical venue in the British Eventing calendar, Treborough would be in the running. “Situated in Exmoor National Park in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it has panoramic views of heather-covered hills and the sea looking towards the Welsh mountains,” says organiser Sarah Weatherlake. “There is ample safe space out on the cross-country course close to the start, where, weather permitting, spectators are welcome to picnic and enjoy the sport. We are lucky to have skylarks and curlew here on Treborough Common — a real treat on a summer’s day. “And our top tip for your day? Come prepared with suncream and an extra coat. Being at the top of a Somerset hill we are likely to experience a range of weather.” Free to watch Blair Castle International Horse Trials When? 23-26 August Where? Blair Castle, Perthshire What to expect: Arm yourself with midge repellent, prepare yourself for every weather outcome (who could forget the biblical rain of the 2015 European Eventing Championships?) and stand by to see the Scottish Highlands at their best. With the magical Blair Castle as the backdrop, this is a place to escape the everyday bustle of the south, and watch some of Britain’s top eventers in action in the three-star competition and sixth leg of the Event Riders Masters. Plus you can marvel at the Highland ponies in the showing classes and keep less-horsey family members entertained with the country fair that runs simultaneously. Don’t leave for home without swinging past the House of Bruar in the village (a Harrods of the north) to stock up in the food hall: think smoked salmon, buttery fudge and venison sausages. Tickets from £12 Words by Madeleine Silver. Picture by Design Pics Inc/Alamy 8 February 2018 Horse & Hound 29

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