Torrential rain failed to dampen spirits at the second annual Nunney International Horse Trials.
Nunney residents were able to stroll across the course to watch top eventing professional in action – for free. The Visit Nunney team was on site next to the main arena to direct many other visitors in the opposite direction, to Nunney Castle, The George at Nunney and the village SPAR shop.
The Nunney Horse Trials took place over three days, starting on Friday 14 June and finishing on Sunday 16 June. It included the prestigious CIC2* which attracted many top names from eventing, including members of the British and Brazilian Olympic teams. One prominent competitor was Tina Cook and her horse Miner’s Frolic, a veteran of individual and team Olympic medals at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 – plus a dual gold medal winner at the 2009 European Championships.
The event was also part of the FEI Nations Cup series, where Britain is at present in the lead. The event’s organiser Teresa Dufosee added: “We are absolutely thrilled that Nunney has attracted such a high class field, and it’s testament to the wonderful place where it takes place, and all the hard work of the many volunteers.”
As well as competitive action, there was also a host of trade stands, food outlets, including on the cross-country course, and show jumping in the main arena in front of Southfield House.
For many riders coming to Nunney meant an early start to a long day. Event rider Laura Collett, who 7 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medal at European Championships and famed for her association with Kauto Star, took to Twitter in the early hours: “Alarm went off at 3.30am… It is just too early to be getting up!! Off to Nunney.”
After a sunny start on Friday, torrential rain failed to halt proceedings on the Saturday. The cross-country event was halted for 5 minutes during the worst downpour, but the show jumping continued as scheduled.
The 17-year old rider Helen Bates said: “The weather at Nunney is disgusting. I have just finished dressage and am absolutely soaked through.” Rider Oliver Smith too complained about “insane showers” but said that he had enjoyed “super, if not a little damp” Nunney Horse Trials.
On Sunday the rain continued, although the blustery wind had died down. Despite the weather, many participants took to online social networks to praise the organisation of the Nunney Horse Trials and the quality of the course and facilities.
Young rider Miranda Filmer said on Twitter: “I had a great morning at the Nunney Horse Trials! Such a fab course to ride. What a nice event.” International event rider Ginny Howe wrote: “A lovely warm welcome at the Nunney Horse Trials and beautiful stables to be in tonight at the main house. What a brilliant event.”
Another international event rider, Nicky Roncoroni of NBR Eventing, complained about the rain: “Going for the drowned rat look at Nunney… This weather is only suitable for finding a nice pub to sit in for the afternoon!” However, she later added: “End of a long but great weekend at Nunney. Not going to write home about any of the tests we did but had a great time in the jumping and 5 superb rides across the country. I can thoroughly recommend this event for its friendly but professional atmosphere and beautifully built show jumping and cross-country courses, which gave a great education across the levels.”
British Horse Society instructor (BHSI) Kylie Roddy said: “I thought the course had a really good mixture of strong and modern fences, combined with trappy traditional obstacles. Things like doubles of corners and skinnies mixed up with big bold fences (like the fence in the picture) so it tested both boldness and straightness.”
The cross-country event sadly saw the death of one horse, after Robyn Groenink’s Miss Potter II (‘Gemma’) broke her femur and had to be put down.
Olympian Sir Mark Todd CBE, a New Zealand horseman voted FEI Rider of the 20th Century in 2000, wrote: “What a great job Nunney have done. Well built imaginative courses! Hope I ride them properly.”
This year’s CIC2* winner Coral Keen wrote: “I had a great weekend at the Nunney Horse Trials. Educational courses and lovely friendly atmosphere – one of the nice ones.”
Horse owner Claire Beveridge added: “What a beautiful event and such care taken to look after owners and riders. A lovely treat.” Coach and event rider Rob Stevens also wrote: “Had a fab couple of days with young horses at the great Nunney Horse Trials.”
Results for all categories are available on the British Eventing website.