The picturesque countryside, near the villages of Stratford St Mary and Higham just outside Colchester, has been the venue for the Stratford Hills Horse Trials for the last 12 years. Now a well-established fixture on the British Eventing calendar it attracts over 500 competitors, from all over the country, to compete in the three disciplines of Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country. The jumps vary in height and the standard of difficulty in the dressage changes in the various classes.

This year, as well as the usual full compliment of classes up to Intermediate Novice, they are again running the BE80(T) . The purpose of this new class is to introduce people to the sport. Designed to educate and encourage inexperienced riders, with dressage that is not too daunting and a maximum fence height of 80cm. A trainer provides a Show Jumping and Cross Country course walk and explains the best way to tackle the obstacles and answer any queries competitors may have – such as permitted tack or how to warm up for dressage. Airowear who make air jackets have agreed to be national sponsors of this class.

This year the event will be running a U18BE100 Qualifier and a U18ON Qualifier. These classes will be the last qualifiers and selection event before the championships to be held at the end of July at Frickley Park in Yorkshire.

 Several new cross country jumps have been added to the course since last year and part of the Novice course will take a new route.

The two-day event is organised by a committee led by Gillie Cranfield. In order for both days to run smoothly a huge amount of support is needed from ‘the army’ of volunteers who return year after year to help in all aspects of the event – from catering to scoring and jump judging!

As well as trying to provide an enjoyable day for the competitors and spectators, another very important aspect to these Horse Trials is to raise money for a different charity each year.

The event is very fortunate to have some generous donors and loyal sponsors. Carriagehouse Insurance, based just down the road from the venue, in Stratford St Mary has been one of the main supporters for many years. The organising committee are extremely grateful to them and the other sponsors Airowear, Savills, Lookers, Jim Lawrence, Ipswich Audi, Ark Syndicate, Ames Nissan, New Hall School, Thorpe Horseboxes, R&D Schofield, J.M. Finn, New England Building Supplies, County Linen, Scrutton Bland, Churchmanor Estates, Cavenham Estates, Hugh Pearl Drainage, Prestige Bars, Handelsbanken, Archant, Milsom Hotels, Construct Reason, UBS, Barker Gotelee and Carter Jonas.

This year the organising committee are delighted to be supporting The Porch Project in Hadleigh. This is a charity which aims to support young people’s physical, mental, social, spiritual and educational well-being.

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Spectators will be very welcome – come and watch all the competitors and enjoy shopping at the tradestands – Entry is only £10 per car and includes all occupants. The Stratford Hills course is just off the A12 near Colchester at Higham.

Or if you would like to compete – entries can be made now via the internet at

MAY16 News STratford Hills