Saddle up for the biggest Belton Horse Trials yet

Show-stopping show-jumpers from last year's Belton Horse Trials.
Show-stopping show-jumpers from last year's Belton Horse Trials.

Set to be the biggest in its 32-year history, this year’s Belton Horse Trials opens today (Friday).

Once again Belton House will play host to the first major horse trials competition of the season, with some of the world’s most famous event riders from up to 18 countries taking part.

Over three days (April 4-6) visitors can enjoy top level sport and family activities as arenas, marquees and up to 100 trade stands are laid out in the National Trust property’s 36 acres of gardens.

Moreover the trust is teaming up with the organisers of the trials, Bede Events, to open all attractions under the banner “One Ticket One Belton”, enabling attendees to use the same ticket for the horse trials and the National Trust facilities.

Today will see the start of the equestrian activity as international competitors of the Grantham Cup put on their top hat and tails in the dressage event.

Those who prefer the thrill of the cross-country can see the novices’ competition which is also taking place today, followed by more cross-country and show jumping over the weekend.

On Saturday the inter-hunt relay at 12.30pm is the highlight of ‘Countryside Day’, while Sunday sees the conclusion of the hotly contested Grantham Cup.

In addition, Sunday is themed as ‘Family Day’ with non-equestrian attractions including the classic car show, dog agility and dog show.

However there are plenty of other activities to keep families entertained across the entire weekend, with the Victorian fun fair, a style and fashion presentation by Stick and Ribbon of Nottingham in aid of air ambulance today, and Belton House’s popular adventure playground.

To see the full timetable of events and to purchase tickets in advance visit www.belton-horse.co.uk