Horse trials begin at Floors Castle

Oliver Townend on board Artic Mouse at Floors Castle last year (picture by Jim Crichton).
Oliver Townend on board Artic Mouse at Floors Castle last year (picture by Jim Crichton).

Starting today (Friday) and continuing until Sunday, May 13, is the biggest equestrian event in the Borders, and also one of the largest in Scotland.

The Land Rover Floors Castle Horse Trials, at Kelso, is welcoming a number of the UK’s top eventers, including Oliver Townend, who is currently ranked number one in the world, and was a runner-up at the Badminton Horse Trials last week, and the UK’s top female rider Izzy Taylor.

Local competitors Henny Cooper and Rosa Onslow will be among those taking on these high-ranking athletes for the top title.

There iss plenty of information on the Roxburghe event’s website – floorscastlehorsetrials.com – including word of 10 different classes of varying difficulties and jumping heights, from 90cm right up to the CIC**, which has a fence height of 1.20metres.

Alongside the eventing, there will be many other competitions, include National Schools Equestrian Association Show Jumping.

The Scottish Borders are well represented in these classes with teams representing Morebattle Primary, and the High Schools from Kelso, Peebles and Earlston, among others.

In previous years, winners from this event have gone on to perform exceptionally well, with a number of wins and placings in the Championships which are held in Buckinghamshire in October.

Retraining of Racehorse and thoroughbred class also feature in the programme. Designed to showcase the versatility of the thoroughbred, these classes provide racehorses with a competition life after their racing careers have finished.

The popular Bughley Young Event Horse competition returns and gives those which win at Floors an opportunity to compete at the world renowned Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in Stamford.

The non-profit event has been run at Floors Castle for over 25 years and, this year, received title sponsorship from Land Rover; an honour only reserved for a select few events per year.

The horse trials receives sponsorship from a number of local firms, including A. Hume Country Clothing, Thomas Sheriffs and MKM Building Supplies Galashiels.

Sponsorship manager Debbie Whalley said: “We’re very lucky at Floors to receive fantastic support from local companies like Kyowa Kirin and Eskdale Shooting Services, who have all been with us for a number of years now.

“As well as receiving brand exposure, our sponsors enjoy lots of benefits, including a delicious lunch in the hospitality marquee which is catered for by the Castle Kitchens.”

Spectators are welcome to attend and watch the action unfold, with family entertainment throughout the weekend, as well as a shopping village with various catering outlets. Onlookers can enjoy dressage, show jumping and cross country on each day with tickets available to purchase on the gate.