The Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials is known as a ‘three-day-event’, even though the actual competition is run over four days! This is because the event is made up of three phases: dressage, cross-country and show jumping, with the dressage phase taking place over the first two days.
Britain leads the way in the sport of eventing with many of the world’s very best riders being British nationals. The UK is also home to a multitude of international riders who take advantage of the superb training facilities and great events that the country has to offer.
As the best four star event in the world, Blenheim has seen many horses win or achieve top results in both of its classes who have gone on to five star, European Championship, World Championship and Olympic success such as Parklane Hawk, NZB Land Vision, Headley Britannia, Viceroy, Toytown, Quimbo, Fenyas Elegance and DHI Topper W – to name just a few!
The start of the competition is on a Wednesday afternoon with the first official horse inspection in front of the Ground Jury and the Veterinary Delegate. This is followed by dressage, cross-country, and show jumping over the following four days.
There are two main classes held at Blenheim over the four days of the event – the showcase CCI4* Long Format and a CCI4* Short Format for 8 & 9-year-old horses. The CCI4* Short Format is for 8 and 9 year old horses and has been specifically developed for younger horses to complete the dressage test followed by showjumping then cross-country. The format for the CCI4*-Long class, for older and more experienced horses, starts with dressage, followed by a longer and more technically demanding cross-country phase, which provides a more exacting test and finishes with the showjumping.
The Ground Jury have ultimate responsibility for judging all three phases of the competition. The Veterinary Delegate is responsible for ensuring that FEI regulations are adhered to and that horses are fit and able to complete all phases of the competition.