Riding Royally at Osborne Horse Trials

Spectator viewing will be spectacular at the Island’s first top class British Horse Trials at Osborne House (25th-26th July). For not only is this going to be a top equestrian event but it’s also going to be against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful stately homes in the UK: Queen Victoria’s summer palace Osborne House.

Conceived by event horse owner, past horse trials organiser and Isle of Wight resident, Diana Bown, the affiliated event will run on Wednesday 25thand Thursday 26thJuly 2018, under the BEDE Events banner.

Top Riders

Top riders who will be competing at the event include top world rider Oliver Townend, Izzy Taylor, William Fox-Pitt, Sam Griffiths, Alex Bragg, Andrew Hoy and Ludwig Svennerstal who will be completing with other talented riders for a total prize fund of well over £60,000.

For the event a shorter, easy-to -follow format has been devised to showcase the sport to a new audience with first dressage and then show jumping on the Durbar Lawn, which is right next to the beautiful Italianate palace that Prince Albert designed for his Queen, Victoria, and their growing family. 

The cross country course, consisting of 31 jumping efforts, will run across in front of the house with its sweeping views down to Osborne Bay and the Solent – a view that Albert likened to that of the Bay of Naples. This extraordinary setting will enable spectators to see a large proportion of the action without moving from one spot. 

Both days will feature two classes, with each phase completed before the next begins, and each day will start at 10am and close at 3.30pm. Fences will be at intermediate height, with a Grand Prix class and three further categories tailored to either top level or less experienced horses.

Top Prizes

All the top riders will be invited to bring two horses, riding one per day, although entry is open to all appropriately qualified horse and rider combinations. The prize money is enticing – even more so given that there are only 20 entries per class. The winner of the Grand Prix will take home a cheque for £10,000, the other classes providing a £5,000 top prize out of a total prize fund of over £60,000.

“We are hoping to welcome 40 riders with two horses apiece. We are even planning to approach the top overseas riders who can bring a horse to the UK and compete at Barbury, Osborne and Gatcombe in one visit, giving themselves a crack at an expected £120,000 of prize money across the events,” explained BEDE Events director Stuart Buntine. 

“We have three key goals: to raise the profile and awareness of Osborne House; to benefit island businesses through increased footfall; and to introduce the exhilarating sport of eventing to a wider audience.” 

Unsurprisingly the event is attracting significant corporate interest, not least thanks to a generous offer by English Heritage which has agreed to allow access to additional, private, parts of the house. 

“Top sponsors, including our title sponsor London Capital & Finance, will have the opportunity to host dinner or drinks parties in various rooms not normally open to the public,” said Diana. “Their guests will be able to watch all the sporting action from the superb vantage point of the terrace. What a fabulous way for companies to entertain clients and for us to showcase our sport to potential new business partners.”

Two classes will run on each of the two days, and are open to all qualified combinations – this is not an invitation only event. On the Wednesday the classes will be for horses with 21-70 British Eventing points (or international equivalent) and with 71-250 points (or equivalent). On the Thursday the big boys can come out to play, with both classes open to Grade 1 and 2 horses.

Spectator Heaven

With full classes a certainty and large crowds expected, there will be extensive retail outlets on site to keep you busy inbetween the action. Craft, artisan and organic stalls are already booked in, so London Capitial & Finance Osborne Horse Trials looks set to be a shopper’s paradise.

There will also be arena attractions every afternoon including displays in Classical Dressage, Haven Falconry, Carriage Driving, a Dog Show in aid of Ability Dogs 4 young people and Have A Go Dog Agility as well as a Victorian Funfair, with traditional carousel and side show.

Visitors to the event will also have access all day to Osborne House itself, Swiss Cottage (where Victoria & Albert's children made house and grew vegetables) and Victoria's Private Beach.

Buy Tickets

Day tickets cost £23 per adult and £10.50 for children with Family tickets at £60. There are discounts for English Heritage members available too. Checkout event tickets here.

Red Funnel are running special offers on foot passenger and vehicle crossings for the event with prices starting from £9.95 for an adult day return.

Jo Macaulay

12 July 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles