A TOP class field of international event riders joined local competitors during a “fantastic two days of sport” at the Belsay Horse Trials.

The annual event enjoyed a full roster of entries for its seventh successive outing, with good weather for the most part.

Organisers Laura and Peter de Wesselow said last weekend’s trials was the perfect preparation for next year, when Belsay will host the British Pony Championships.

“This year’s event was as action packed as ever,” said Laura, “with a full roster of entries and some very exciting riders including several Badminton 2019 contenders, Ben Hobday, Wills Oakden, Hazel Towers and Harry Mutch.

“Belsay has the support of some fantastic sponsors, and the show jumping was surrounded by more than 40 trade stands, an array of food traders and a craft tent, as well as children’s fun fair rides and Go Karts, which were a great attraction for families.

“The rain just about stayed away, and both visitors and competitors enjoyed a fantastic two days of sport, family entertainment and fun.”

Household names included Ben Hobday, and his wife Emma, who enjoyed success over both days. Shadowman (Ben) and Shadow Puppet (Emma), who were first and third respectively in the most prestigious class of the weekend, the open intermediate Section G class. Emma also won the BE100 section O on Shadow Star Quality.

Charlotte Parry-Ashcroft, of North Wales, made the long journey worthwhile by securing two wins - with Harthill Storm in the novice section A, and on Will Jack B King in the novice regional final section E, which qualified her for the Novice Championships at Gatcombe in August.

Lucinda Atkinson, of North Yorkshire, was fourth in the NRF on PRF Jaguar Elite and, as the rider closest to the optimum time, won the Mark Halliday Trophy.

The Auchindenny Carnegie Trophy for the highest placed Northumbrian rider in the novice sections went to Pip Nixon, who was second in the novice section B on PRF Divo Mail.

The section was won by well-known regional rider James Adams, riding Tracy Milner’s Bejewel.

Scottish International rider Wills Oakden was also in the ribbons at Belsay, winning the intermediate novice section D on Cracker Jack II, with Ben Hobday in second on Mile High.

Wills was also second in the novice regional final on Macgregors Cooley, and scored another second with Cooley Cadbury in intermediate section F, which was won by Alexandra Farrar-Fry , of West Yorkshire, on Santiago S.

Amateur rider Stephen Rankin rode several horses over the weekend, scoring a win on Sunday with Cooley Empire in the BE90 section N.

Italian Pietro di Marchi won BE90 Section M on Legal Graffiti, while local rider Laura Fenwick from Angerton won BE90 Section L on Rustenberg Diamond.

Mark Jackson, of Meldon, won the BE100 Open Section Q on Linnel Dance Again, owned by the late Bobby Charlton and his wife Sarah. Bobby, who helped run Hexham Horse Trials for 25 years, died recently, and Mark dedicated the win to a widely respected man.

Belsay is a great supporter of youth eventing and always hosts the U21 and U18 classes.

Brianna Tweddall of County Durham won the ONU18 section C on Lisboy Buachaill, while Hexham-based Sam Harrison earned second place.