The Clock Is Ticking…….
The clock is ticking down to the 2017 Firle Place International Horse Trials & Country Fair, which take place over the weekend of 19th & 20th August in the beautiful grounds of Firle Place, just five miles south east of Lewes.
One of the five oldest horse trials in Britain, the event is an established fixture in the summer calendar for country lovers. It attracts more than 5,000 visitors, 500 riders and 1,000 dogs annually, and this year looks set to be no different.
Riders representing 10 nations, from as far afield as Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa will be lining up, amongst them past Olympians Caroline Powell (NZL), Anna Hilton (SWE) and Ruy Fonseca (BRA). Alongside them are five regular members of the British Nations Cup team, Francis Whittington, Georgie Strang, Tom Jackson, Will Furlong and Laura Collett, the last three of these having enjoyed significant success in past British Youth Teams. Competition is bound to be fierce.
Standing out from the crowd will be Jake Tarrant from Uckfield who for the past five years has been raising awareness of the charity Against Breast Cancer.
“It started as a tribute to my aunt, who died from breast cancer. Firle is our local event and we’d always take a family picnic, so it was the obvious place to start what has become a regular ‘performance’. Initially it was just about raising awareness, but now I am raising money too,” Jake explained. So, look out for a grey horse and rider combo dressed top to toe in dayglo pink and give Jake a cheer.
The Saturday offers a mix of equestrianism and shopping. Riders will perform a dressage test, before tackling first show jumping and then the cross-country – where horses gallop across the parkland at around 25mph, over a diverse range of solid fences. Meanwhile, numerous tradestands and over 40 Weald Craft exhibitors will be selling their wares.
On the Sunday there is plenty more equestrian action, the hugely popular Farmers Market, and a variety of dog-related entertainment, from a Fun Dog Show to a Rare Breed area. More on that in next week’s paper!