Creating a new BE Affiliated event requires huge resources and the patience and support of landowners and sponsors to make it all happen. With just a week to go before we launch Frenchfield Horse Trials a quick tour of the course may illustrate what’s involved…
Last October the opportunity arose to establish a new event site with excellent road links and close to Penrith with sandy ground and undulating terrain owned by Anna and Grant Rowley and adjacent to Hunter Hall School. A new access road was installed to take traffic to the highest and driest point and to give owners and spectators some fine views across to The Lake District and Peninnes. The Carleton Beck which runs through the middle of the course required some excavation and a Licence from the Environment Agency was sought and granted. Through the winter months a number of feature fences were built using the sandstone walls dividing the pastures and various timber fences in the hedge-lines were installed. Given the long winter and the regular snow falls and especially the need to avoid damage to the turf, the course building works were delayed on numerous occasions. Progressively though things really started to come together by early March and a successful BE inspection saw the Technical Advisor Jonathan Clissold walk the courses in his shoes whilst the rest of the country sadly experienced cancellations galore. By mid April all the fences were in place including a number of post and rail type jumps using the MIM safety system provided by British Eventing. Thanks must go to John Collier and Thomas Collier for their help and the provision of timber, new portable fences and equipment to build the course to the standard now on show. Whilst all this was occurring Lucinda Weymouth had been coordinating the sponsorship and volunteers to bring the event to life. Like many events in the more remote counties of UK, running a horse trial is a risky business with many classes to fill to make for a viable weekend and Frenchfield will look to achieve a successful first running of the competition and then progress with higher level classes.
A tour of the course sees competitors head out over the inviting AW Jenkinson Black Logs to canter on straight ahead to face the Equine Products UK Park Wall with a slight drop to turn right and gallop on to meet the Cumbria Horse Trials Flower Boxes (BE80/90) or Drop Rails (BE100/105) and head down hill towards the Beech House Holidays Feeders and Brush Palisade. Crossing into the far undulating pasture over the Carleton Beck sees a strong gallop over AST Signs The Chase and onto the portable Hoggs Horse Boxes Corners and Table Top straightforward jumps. The BE100/105 now take on the Horslyx Ski Jump and then climb again to the Jim Walton Toyota Oxer & Cottages. A run back over the beck and uphill or sweeping turn to the Lakes Free Range Egg Co Cottages & Corners which then allows for a superb gallop towards some combination fences. Competitors will all find a set up fence such as the Feeder and then ride over Santa Rita Wines Step to Skinny fence before quickly coming to the Airowear & Virbac Ditch Combination and onto the well-constructed Robinson Udale Accountants Wall & Bank jumps. Heading uphill and traversing over ground overlooking the Penrith Football Stadium see the 105 riders jump the narrow AW Jenkinson Forest Products Harry The Hedgehog and keeping straight-ahead towards the Braithwaites Garage Brush Palisades. A final turn left adjacent to the Main Arena will require impulsion to keep the flow through The Quiet Site Barrel Combination with three elements for the 105 class. Heading home over the Blackdyke Farm Oxer or Brush Spread and a canter past the spectators to the final Maiden Marine Churn Stand and Flower Box will see a successful completion of the course. The BE100/105 tracks measure to around 2450m and the BE80/90 tracks run to around 2000m – with the undulating terrain these will feel like much longer distances!’
Good luck to everyone competing.
Cross Country Sponsors