JUST two weeks after a top class field of international event riders descended on Belsay, attention is already turning to next year.

For the governing body British Eventing has awarded Belsay Horse Trials the contract to host the British Pony Championships from June 4 to 7, 2020. The competition is the pinnacle of the national Pony Trials Series for riders aged 16 years and under, riding ponies (14.0hh – 14.2hh).

It represents the toughest test for pony riders, and is run as a long format international competition over three days, to give potential Great Britain pony team members vital experience for the European Pony Championships, which take place in August every year.

Laura de Wesselow, organiser of the Belsay Horse Trials, said: “As a family, we have been involved in pony trials since 2016, so we are thrilled that now we can give something back to the sport by hosting this prestigious championship at Belsay.

“Set in beautiful parkland against the backdrop of Belsay Hall and Castle, we have one of the most stunning British Eventing venues which has excellent road access, being only 10 miles from the A1. We have lots of exciting plans for our International Fixtures in 2020 and can promise all competitors that they will be very well looked after, with fantastic facilities, generous prize money and some great entertainment.”

The pony championships has a rich history, and for the past 19 years, the event has been hosted by Janet Plant and her family at Brand Hall in Shropshire.

Laura added: “We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Janet and her family, and hope that we can continue to do as good a job as they have done.”

Belsay has the infrastructure in place to host an international event, with state-of-the art sports drainage, and a cross country course, which will be re-designed for 2020 by Adrian Ditcham.