Kingston Maurward shines at Eventing debut


The inaugural event saw almost 300 competitors, and was praised for its beautiful setting, challenging courses, and exceptional organisation

Kingston Maurward hosted its inaugural British Eventing Horse Trials at the end of June, drawing nearly 300 competitors, ranging from 12 to 72-years-old, over two action-packed days. The event featured busy classes of BE 80, 90, and 100, with some riders travelling more than four hours to participate.
Kingston Maurward is a land-based college set in 750 acres of historic parkland and formal gardens. The show jumping and dressage took place in the grounds of the Grade I listed Georgian Manor House, and the parkland estate provided the perfect setting for the cross-country courses, which were able to make good use of the natural terrain of rolling hills which riders do not get to experience at many events.
The courses, designed by Adrian Ditcham, ran over the undulating permanent pasture to produce flowing and educational tracks and inviting fences. Adrian is a British Eventing A-listed course designer – he was the lead course builder at the 2012 London Olympics.

Despite being a debut event, the class entries featured several distinguished riders, making for a memorable and competitive lineup. Irish Olympic athlete Padraig Mccarthy came third in BE100 in his section on Napoli-H. He said: ‘It’s great to have a new event in the calendar. The cross country is very fresh, with a lot of up and down in the terrain. It could absolutely go up another level to Novice, with terrain like that, it’s very educational for the horses. I’ll be back next year!’
Gubby Leach, the international 5* event rider based near Salisbury entered two horses. Dan Jocelyn, a New Zealand Olympic athlete based near Malmesbury, said: ‘Well worth attending! Top 10s for Emma and Corky, and new kid on the block Pewter finished on his dressage. And a win for golden boy Freelance Z! What a fabulous setting for this new event, loved the rolling hills and big sweeping turns in the Cross Country. Very educational for the youngsters and we will be back.’
Neve Webber is just 14 years old. She placed on both of her rides, coming fifth in the 80 on Tilly’s Flower, and third on Mr Buzz in the 90 – each time finishing on her dressage score. Even younger, Nancy Mort was one of five 12-year-olds competing. She finished second in her section in the 80 on Dernahatten Coevers Hills on their dressage score (26).
For an inaugural event, the response from riders was overwhelmingly positive, with comments that the setting very much gave a mini-international feel with the house and parkland. Hundreds of spectators arrived to watch each day, and riders and officials alike commented on the special feel of the event

An old-fashioned welcome
One local rider from Sherborne posted on Facebook: ‘This was, honestly, one of the very nicest events I’ve ever been to (and there have been many). It was beautifully organised, all the officials and volunteers were super friendly, knowledgeable, kind and helpful and the location was stunning. It had a slightly old fashioned feel, in all the best ways – really welcoming and relaxed and yet had a sense of occasion with stalls and the stunning house.
‘The XC was super for both competitors and spectators. We absolutely loved it and felt it was a sensational addition to the South West calendar.
Thank you to everyone.’
‘The comments are just fantastic,’ says Kingston Maurward’s Vice-Principal Tom Hallam. ‘We’d like to thank everyone who made it such a brilliant weekend. We, the KMC team, have been blown away by the overwhelmingly positive feedback. KMC really is a magical place and the perfect venue for eventing. We absolutely intend to make this an annual event … This is only the beginning, so watch this space!’
KMC are now working collaboratively with British Eventing to create a brand new eventing venue not just for the south west, but an accessible venue for the whole of the south of England.


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