Top riders at horse trials

Francis Whittington will be competing
Francis Whittington will be competing

A HOST of top international riders will be competing at South of England Horse Trials, in Ardingly this Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10.

Sunday’s main Advanced Intermediate section boasts a strong field of world class combinations, many of whom will be using the event as a final tune-up for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials which takes place in Gloucestershire two weeks later.

Heading the field will be two-time Badminton winner and former double European champion Pippa Funnell, who will ride Redesigned, the horse with whom she finished fifth at last year’s World Equestrian Games. Funnell will also partner her up-and-coming homebred horses, Billy Landretti and Billy Shannon in the open intermediate class.

Francis Whittington (Rotherfield), Emily Llewellyn (Heathfield) and Emily Baldwin (Lamberhurst) are among the riders competing on Sunday who are Badminton-bound, while amateur eventer and full-time vet Tony Warr (Pembury) is currently on the waiting list for the Gloucestershire event, but will come to South of England on the back of an impressive win at Great Witchingham horse trials in Norfolk at the end of March.

Other local riders hoping to make their mark include Sacha Pemble (Paddock Wood), Sam Penn (Hailsham) and Anna Hilton (Sandhurst).

Dressage, showjumping and cross-country action starts at 9am on Saturday and Sunday at the South of England showground.

Entrance is £10 per car including all occupants.

To see further details go to www.southofenglandhorsetrials.co.uk