Thousands of visitors from all over the country flocked to Belton House for the annual International Horse Trials.
Skill, precision and bravery were all in evidence from some of the leading riders in the sport during the three-day event, on from Friday to Sunday.
The National Trust’s Belton estate provided a fabulous backdrop for the horse trials and for a fun-filled family weekend alongside the main event.
In addition to the packed equestrian programme, there was a wide range of activities, ranging from a classic car display to a dog show, from a long-distance run to a working sheepdog demonstration.
International riders dominated this year’s Grantham Cup CIC 3* competition, sponsored by Lycetts, with the USA’s Clark Montgomery and his own Loughan Glen taking the prestigious title in front of a record Belton crowd.
An unfortunate rail in the show jumping cost the overnight leader, Australia’s Bill Levett and his mount Clare Prentice’s Shannondale Titan, first place. Britain’s Kitty King, riding Jane Mufett and Frank Inns’ Persimmon, claimed third place.
The 2015 Listers Mercedes-Benz CIC 2* title was taken by Team GB rider Oliver Townend and Note Worthy. They led from the start to clinch the title. Oliver was closely followed by Tom McEwen, on Toledo de Kerser, with third place going to Germany’s Britta Esser with Escorial 146.
Stuart Buntine, director of Bede Events which organised Belton Horse Trials, was delighted to welcome Listers Mercedes-Benz as title sponsors for Saturday’s CIC 2* class and as official vehicle suppliers for the event.
He said: “It is this kind of backing from local companies which is vital in making events like Belton Horse Trials possible and we are extremely grateful for their support.”
Pulling the largest crowd of the weekend, the Voltaire Designs Inter-Hunt Gate Jumping competition didn’t fail to entertain.
With a ‘winner takes all’ prize pot of £500, the seven competitors fought until the last, with two clearing the 5ft 8in gate – both competitors representing the Grove and Rufford hunt, Ryan Page beat Emma Gage to the pot, after removing one less item of clothing.