Intro: The Houghton International Horse Trials & FEI Nations Cup has it all; exhilarating sporting action, a spectacular setting, entertainment for young and old, plus shopping at over 70 trade stands. Set in the magnificent grounds of Houghton Hall, Norfolk, this truly is one of the most outstanding venues within the sport of eventing. (After gaining International status in 2007 the event now welcomes over 700 horses each year, including more than 350 International competitors. It hosts the only British leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup, a series where teams from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand battle it out to top the table come the final event at Boekelo, Holland, in October. In addition, Houghton also hosts the Saracen Horse Feeds British Eventing U21 National Championships.)
Despite the wet weather, it was an extremely enjoyable day out here at Houghton International Horse Trials in Norfolk. With all of the rings packed with action throughout the day, and shopping stalls brimming with items for sale, there was not a dull moment despite the rain.
In the main ring, International competitors made their return as they competed over a challenging course on the damp ground which saw German rider Christoph Wahler take the win in a competitive section.
Young riders, a part of the Pony Club, wowed spectators with their bravery and skill as they competed to win for their club in the adjacent ring. With some of the classes exceeding 1 metre in height, it’s almost certain that some of those little riders will be back again competing here one day for their country.
As you dipped in and out of the action happening in the rings, the endless collection of shopping stalls felt irresistibly tempting. Whilst there were the typical equestrian stalls, there were a large collection of clothing stalls, country living stalls and even art stalls for visitors to browse round and pick up a bargain.
After hours of shopping and getting engrossed in the high stakes competition action, the food court was a warm welcome! With a large collection of food available, there was something to suit everyone, from the classic fish and chips, to baked goods and even smoothies if you fancied a healthier option. Whilst the food wasn’t the cheapest around, the exceptional quality and taste made it completely worth it.
For anyone interested in the countryside lifestyle, this is a must-see annual event.
The admission fee is £15 for an adult, £6 for a child, or just £35 for a full family to get in.
Laura Collins,
BTEC Level 3 Creative Media Production Management (Journalism)
Peterborough Regional College

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