Bicton Arena in Devon, England, has announced that it has received the go-ahead to host Britain’s only five-star horse trials this year, on September 2-5.
After holding a successful first CCI4* in June, the Bicton team, led by Helen West and Andrew Fell, applied to the Fédération Equestre Internationale to run a replacement CCI5*-L as a one-off to meet competitor and owner demand for a competition of this level after the unprecedented cancellations of both Badminton and Burghley due to the pandemic.
The Chedington Bicton Park 5* Horse Trials comes after two difficult seasons for the sport and will be an opportunity to see the highest level of competition in England for the first time in two years.
Bicton has secured the generous sponsorship from Chedington, plus a prize fund of €125,000 (nearly $173,000). The event will be live streamed by supporting sponsor The Eventing Channel. Capt. Mark Phillips will be creating a new cross-country track, built by Adrian Ditcham, in Bicton’s beautiful Grade l-listed parkland.
“We are thrilled to have been given this opportunity by the FEI to ensure Britain has a five-star competition this year,” said Fell, who is taking over from West as Bicton Arena’s new manager. “It should be a great morale boost after so much disappointment. Bicton is the home of Lord and Lady Clinton who have been so supportive of the sport and this will be an exciting time for Clinton Devon Estates. Bicton is already blessed with loyal supporters, great facilities and a stunning setting, and we are now full steam ahead with our aim of producing a competition truly worthy of CCI5* status.”
West, appointed Chief Executive for British Eventing and advisor to Bicton Arena for the five-star event, said, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Bicton and the South West. Following the success of the four-star event we put on earlier this year we know that we are ideally placed to make this a huge success. For me, this is a shining example of what can be achieved with a collaborative approach. This whole vision was fueled by owners, riders and organizers alike who have worked tirelessly to get this off the ground. The recognition of this achievement comes at an important time for me as I step into my new British Eventing role. It is fantastic for the sport as a whole and I look forward to exciting times ahead.”
Limited numbers of spectator tickets will be available shortly.