World class eventers come to Little Downham for competition

PUBLISHED: 09:54 04 October 2018

Little Downham horse trials. Picture: TILLY BERENDT

Little Downham horse trials. Picture: TILLY BERENDT

Archant

Three action-packed days at the Ely Eventing Centre drew to an exciting close with a star-studded final day of competition at Little Downham.

Little Downham horse trials. Picture: TILLY BERENDTLittle Downham horse trials. Picture: TILLY BERENDT

The horse trials are heralded as an ideal competition to prepare top-class horses for their major autumn international entries.

World-class athletes and their equally famous horses took part in the advanced class at Little Downham, offering an opportunity to enjoy the best of the sport in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.

Gemma Tattersall, part of the gold-medal winning British team at the recent World Equestrian Games, brought three horses, joining Burghley horse trials winner Tim Price, New Zealand sporting legend Andrew Nicholson, and Australian Olympian Chris Burton, the ‘fastest man in the world’, among the ones-to-watch in the feature class.

The two biggest classes went to British rider Izzy Taylor, riding Frog Rock, and Ireland’s Joseph Murphy, who piloted his experienced campaigner Sportsfield Othello to a lightning-fast victory.

Little Downham horse trials. Picture: TILLY BERENDTLittle Downham horse trials. Picture: TILLY BERENDT

For Joseph, Little Downham is always a competition worth going to.

He said: “It’s the ideal competition – it offers enough to test the best horses, and the ground is always great. It’s very safe galloping ground.” “From a horse’s perspective, it’s fantastic. The team builds a really nice track, and you always know what you’re going to get; it’s not going to be trappy or have any tricks.

“Plus, the organisers are really helpful. It’s sometimes difficult to make plans too far in advance if you live in Ireland, but they’re always so accommodating to riders, so it’s well worth the journey.”

Joseph, like many fellow competitors, will now head to one of the world’s premier events, Les 4 Etoiles des Pau in the south of France, using the valuable confidence boost his horses gained this weekend.

Little Downham isn’t just for Olympic veterans – all three of the venue’s summer fixtures offer a chance for riders at every level to enjoy a great days’ competition, and this, the final event of the year, provided something even better.

The Mitsubishi Motors Championships at Badminton is the pinnacle of grassroots eventing, and amateur competitors across the country dedicate their eventing seasons to seeking out a coveted qualification to ride at the spring showcase.

To do so, they must first qualify at a regional final. Little Downham provides the east of England’s opportunity for this.

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