Gatcombe Park – Festival of Eventing

Last weekend saw the culmination of the Gatcombe Park Festival of British Eventing presented by BETA. We were fortunate enough to be press photographers at the event. The first thing that I must say is that it was a pleasure to be working there, the organisation was excellent and it would be an enjoyable outing for anybody.

We concentrated on the intermediate section, this is where tomorrow’s equine Eventing stars are to be seen. That said, the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the British Open.

Show Jumping

There were plenty of eye catching performances here, with 7 clear rounds. Crucially Oliver Townend, Ruth Edge and Brook Staples all went clear, whilst Lucy Wiegersma had 4 faults. This kept the competition close going into the cross country phase where time was going to be tight on the undulating Gatcombe course. Here are 3 photos from the show jumping (open & intermediate) – click on a picture to see it larger …


Cross Country – Intermediate

The Gatcombe course was looking wonderful and the ground in good order. As you might expect there were plenty of thrills & spills, at one point I even had to abandon the camera, to catch a loose horse. Some had problems with the Gatcombe water monsters but it rode well for others …

_MG_2888   Click image for a larger view …

Lucy Wiegersma had a sturdy clear round on French Leave with 6 time faults, she rode confidently through the water, as below …

_MG_2901   Click image for a larger view …

This was good enough for 5th overall, with Andrew Nicholson & Brook Staples also having only time faults to go 4th & 3rd respectively. The spills kept on coming at the water, with some spectacular falls {I won’t post the identifiable one’s for now 🙂 }  …

_MG_2835   Click image for a larger view …

Yes there’s a horse & rider in amongst the water, happily all were fine, just a little wet & muddy. Ruth Edge had no problems on the cross country but did incur 8.4 time penalties, which would prove decisive; leaving her in a final 2nd place. This left Oliver Townend with an opportunity or two. ODT Tivoli gave him  damp feet at the water

_MG_2849   Click image for a larger view …

whilst ODT Master Rose looked to risk a bath but recovered well to finish with only time faults. It was ODT Land Vision who put in an outstanding round, one of the quickest, with only 1.6 time faults and thus taking the win.

_MG_2935   Click image for a larger view …

In the open competition Ruth Edge went one better with Mayhem III to take the win on an excellent final score of 27.1. Nicola Wilson & Opposition Buzz were 2nd and Oliver Townend & Flint Curtis were 3rd.


Supporting Entertainment

The main ring provided a place for many more carry ons, some are detailed below:

_MG_2954 The dressage to music was informative and a sublime relief from the excitement of the cross country.

  Click image for a larger view …



_MG_3001 Next up was Ye Olde Red Tail Falconry display, which was simply wondrous, as well as funny! I love birds of prey and it was fantastic to see Peregrine Falcons, Harris Hawk, Black Kite, a Vulture & an Eagle Owl.

  Click an image for a larger view …

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Then we were treated to an amazing performance by The Devil’s Horseman as they carried out a Cossack style display.   Click on any image for a larger view …

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Their performance had the press box full of cheers & yells, many coming from the supposedly quiet & invisible Tamsin. A really exciting display that I recommend you to go & see.

The closing finale was provided by the Shetland Grand National, which pretty much speaks for itself …

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An excellent day at a great venue, but boy was I tired by the time we arrived home.


Shameless Plug

If any editors require images of Gatcombe or need a commission fulfilling, please get in touch with either Jane or I.

Equally so event organisers & individuals should feel free to call on us for our photographic services, see more by visiting to our web hub and following the appropriate links.


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  • Amy

    September 1, 2008 at 4:10 pm Reply

    I was just wondering whether you had any more photos of the devils horsemen at gatcombe? Especially of the red dress or blonde trick riding on grey horse?
    Many thanks

  • antamuk

    September 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm Reply

    Hello Amy,

    Yes we took quite a few pictures that day, so I expect there are more of the one’s you mention.

    I’ll have a look through the files and then send you an email.

    Best Wishes

    BTW The display really was great.

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