Celebrated eventing weekend to honour equestrian supporter
PUBLISHED: 11:32 11 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:32 11 May 2019
An annual eventing fixture will this year be held in honour of one of its most dedicated supporters.
The 17th Stratford Hills Horse Trials will take place in the absence of judge and equestrian, Sir William Aldous, who lost a battle with leukaemia on his 82nd birthday last March.
Organisers have chosen to raise money for research projects being carried out by cancer charity, Bloodwise, in Cambrige, where Sir William and close friends of the event have received treatment.
Funds will also be used to support local patients, families and friends in Suffolk and Essex.
The event takes place over the weekend of June 15 and 16, with entries opening Tuesday, May 14.
The British Eventing fixture is again expected to attract local competitors and those from further afield.
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Organiser, Gillie Cranfield said: "The committee felt that it was important to remember Sir William, who put so much into Stratford Hills and all local events, as well as British Eventing nationally."
Sir William was involved with Stratford Hills from the very beginning, supporting Lady Aldous in the organisation, and as a familiar voice on the cross-country commentary.
During two days of competition, more than 400 riders will compete in the three phases, aimed at testing the skill of horse and rider.
Saturday's classes showcase Stratford Hill's highest level of competition, the Novice and the BE100 competition, with Sunday's event welcoming grassroots level riders at BE80 and BE90.
The highly-praised 2018 event raised money for Friends of the Fern and local Riding for the Disabled Association branches.
Extensive efforts were made to provide good going on the cross-country and further developments to the course, ridden by Suffolk-based Olympic bronze medallist for New Zealand, Caroline Powell, who said: "I rode three beautifully presented courses and it was clear that a lot of extra effort had gone into making the ground as good as it was."
Seven new fences have been constructed by course designer David Carpenter, with a refurbishment to the main water complex also being undertaken.
Event sponsors include local insurance company Carriagehouse, with Scrutton Bland, sponsoring the water jump, and new sponsors this year including Savills estate agents and Beaufort & Blake clothing.