Blair Castle International Horse Trials Welcomes HRH The Princess Royal
Blair Atholl, Scotland
Photo: Camilla Walther
A keen supporter of British eventing for many years, Princess Anne will be presenting the medals to the winners of the FEI European Young Rider Eventing Championship, which takes place over the weekend.
Horse trials have been taking place at Blair Castle since the late 1970's thanks to a comment made by Princess Anne to the late Duke of Atholl, when she suggested the grounds would make a perfect venue for such an event.
Since the first three day event in 1989, the Blair Castle Horse Trials has grown in size and prestige to become Scotland's only three star, three-day event. This year Blair hosts the Championships, which has attracted 18 nations sending both teams and individuals, totalling around 70 competitors.
As the host nation, Great Britain can enter up to 12 competitors but entries in principle have been received from all the major European countries including France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. There are also entries from Russia, Hungary, Belarus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, who were last year's hosts.
Britain has a good record in the EYREC, which is for riders between the ages of 18 and 21. Since the Championships began in 1981 the British squad has won 49 medals, 21 of which are gold and they have taken no less than 13 team titles.
The Princess Royal herself won an individual gold medal at the European Championships in 1971, while her daughter, Zara's success has been well-documented recently winning individual gold at both the world and Europen championships. As a young rider, Zara competed in the EYREC in 2002 and took individual silver.
This year's nominated charity at the Blair Castle event is Riding for the Disabled Association of which Princess Anne is patron, so she will be visiting the local volunteers and fund-raisers at their stand on Sunday.
The regular three, two and one star competitions organised by Atholl Estates will continue to run over the weekend and spectators will be able to enjoy two days of cross country excitement on Friday and Saturday, as well as dressage on Thursday and Friday and Showjumping on Saturday and Sunday.
As everyone knows who has visited the Horse Trials in the past there is much more to this event than dressage, cross-country and showjumping. The Bruadar Country Fair over the weekend has taken on an identity of its own and has become a hugely popular tourist attraction in its own right. This year the spectacular displays include Jumpin' Jake's Farmer Ted Show, one of the UK's leading quad bike stunt riders and Skyhigh Falconry.
Highland and native ponies, hunters and showjumpers each have their day to shine in the magnificent grounds of Blair Castle, while the tented village just grows and grows each year along with the event's reputation as a shoppers paradise!
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