Dreams come true at Belsay International

Current Eventing World Champion Yasmin Ingham and 2023 Badminton Winner (and previous World Champion) Ros Canter were joined by a host of other top professional and amateur riders to enjoy the wonderful weather and fabulous atmosphere at Belsay International Horse Trials, where high level competition combined with celebrations for the event’s 10th Anniversary and fund raising for charity.

Organisers were delighted with visitor numbers who came in large numbers to watch the big classes at this hugely popular Northumberland Event – the British Pony Championship, the British Junior Championship the CCI2* Long Format Senior Class, plus the first leg of the ‘Northumberland Challenge’ CCI2* and CCI3* short format competitions. There was a total of ten different cross-country tracks across Belsay’s beautiful and undulating park land, cleverly designed by Adrian Ditcham and built by Rob McSkimming.

Belsay’s loyal sponsors were out in force to support the event led by title sponsor Barbour, with Dame Margaret Barbour and daughter Helen there to present prizes.

Current European Eventing Champion, former Olympic Medallist and British Team  Stalwart, Nicola Wilson led a course walk on Thursday afternoon to raise awareness and money for the Belsay’s two charities, British Eventing Support Trust (BEST) and Spinal Research. BEST was launched in 2021 to help event riders through difficult times, whether recovering from an accident or dealing with mental health issues and has supported Nicola’s recovery from a life changing accident at Badminton Horse Trials in 2022. With raffles and auctions as well, a whopping £12,000 was raised during the event to be split between the two charities.

Alongside the main action in the Womble Bond Dickinson International Arena, the Castle and Hall Arenas hosted National Equestrian Association Show Jumping on Friday, the British Pony Association’s Working Hunter Pony Show on Saturday with Arena Eventing, Young Horse Performance Classes and the Inter Hunt Relay Competition on Sunday.  The Belsay Dog Show was also a huge success raising £500 for the Newcastle Cats and Dog Shelter.  Border Reiver Archers were also in attendance alongside a fun fair and a fabulous array of trade stands and food stalls.

Laura de Wesselow, Organiser of Belsay International Horse Trials said: “Belsay 2023 has been amazing. We have been blessed by the weather and enjoyed such exciting competition and a wonderful friendly atmosphere. I would like to say a huge thank you to all our sponsors, competitors and trade stands who support the event, but most of all to the huge army of volunteers that give up their time to give everyone such a fantastic experience here at beautiful Belsay!”.

It was a fairy tale ending for Belsay organisers the de Wesselow family to see the pony that daughter Xanthe had produced and competed as part of Team GB at the 2019 European Pony Championships in Strzegom return home to win the British Pony Championship sponsored by Project Pony on a final score of 33.2.

Beautifully ridden by her new jockey Jessica McCaldin, Baramona Lass (known as Suzie) cruised around Adrian Ditcham’s clever and testing cross-country track and came out on the final day to hold her lead with a beautiful clear around Lisa Kelly’s fantastic show jumping course. Glencarrig Dolpin, now ridden by Elizabeth Jelfs, came second on a score of 37 with Ella Howard and Midnight Mist III third on 42.7.

Hampshire’s Pippa Royal looked suitably regal riding the stunning 17-year-old Bayano, a former 5* ride of Flora Harris, to claim the British National Junior Championship sponsored by Saracen Horse Feeds and Voltaire Design. Runner up was Annabel Finston on her own Graffelles and third was Morgan Evenett on Boleybawn Genevieve.

Current Badminton Champion Ros Canter piloted three rides in the CCI2*-L sponsored by Barbour at Belsay International and took the win on Mrs Sharon Bayston’s Parklodge Side by Side. In second place was Yorkshire’s Lucy Sugden riding her own Zorro B, and in third the current world champion rider on Goliath du Loir, owned by Miss Jeanette Davies and the Sue Davies Fund. Brazil’s Marcio Carvalho Jorge took fourth on Lilo TR while Matt Heath took both fifth and sixth on Making Waves and Drumclannan Brexit.

Scotland’s Wills Oakden, a regular competitor at Belsay, won the first leg of the big money prize pot CCI2* Northumberland Challenge with last year’s winning jockey Oliver Townend in second place, this year on Hialisca de Takan, and North Northumberland’s Emily Orpwood in third on Dinadan.

Generously sponsored by N.I.S. Group Ltd and Encon Technical Solutions Ltd, the CCI2* Northumberland Challenge runs across Belsay, Alnwick Ford and Burgham International Horse Trials offering horse and rider combinations entering the class at all three venues the opportunity to win up to £20,000*.

The CCI3*-S was won by Yasmin Ingham on her World Championship winning horse Banzai du Loir. Yasmin and Banzai (owned by Jeanette Chin and the Sue Davies Fund) cruised to victory on a 22.3 dressage with just 2 time faults cross country as a prep run for their next CCI5* appearance at Lumuhlen later this month. In second place was Alex Palmer and her own Global Supernova and another good performance put Wills Oakden in third on Keep it Cooley, owned by his wife Stephanie and Rachel Wood. Oliver Townend riding Sir John Peace and Charlotte Cole’s Crazy du Loir came in fourth and Yasmin Ingham took another top spot, in fifth on Rehy DJ, also owned by Jeanette Chin and the Sue Davies Fund.

The CCI3*-S, a new international fixture at Belsay this year, is also part of the CCI3* Northumberland Challenge prize league sponsored by A.W. Jenkinson Forest Products, which is worth up to £25,000 across Belsay, Alnwick Ford and Burgham International Horse Trials.

Another new international class, the CCI1* Intro Class was a win for the “In it for the Gin” Syndicate, made up of local Northumberland owners Charlotte Ridley, Mary Ann Reay, Clare North-Lewis, Rebecca Wilson, Ant and Kate Best, Gavin and Lou Dunn and Sara Thomas. MHS Global Cooley was ridden to victory by North Yorkshire’s Sara Bowe.  In second place was Charlotte Cooke on her own horse Jewel and Laura Patterson came in third on Edelweiss V.

Nottinghamshire based former Team GB Young Rider Lizzie Baugh, topped the 6-year-old InXpress Tyne & Wear Section at Belsay with her own Calida Spice with Yorkshire’s Katie Magee in second riding Lady Sharon Parnaby’s Cushlas Indigo. Wills Oakden had another good result in third place with his wife Stephanie’s Almond Rockstar. Hayden Hankey came up from Cheshire to take fourth in this class on Ramiro Red.

It was another win for Lizzie Baugh in Novice Section E, sponsored by Lycetts, this time riding Piltown Concorde owned by Harriet Bagley. Hayden Hankey came in second with Lovesick and Paris Kirkby in third on Metalbridge Candy Lad.

Local Belsay rider Jack Mantel took the honours in Novice Section F, sponsored by Evelyn Partners, riding Kirsty Hogg’s Mr Quality Cruz. Lucinda Atkinson took second on Pride Park and Helena Broadly was in third on her Azerly Dave. Jack Mantel was also awarded the Auchindenny Trophy for the highest placed Northumberland rider in the Novice sections.

Novice Section L, sponsored by RBC Brewin Dolphin, was won by Phoebe Towers on her own Infiniti, with Megan Bailey riding Elected and Sophie Lear on Chevalian Sirens Song taking second and third spots.

Morpeth based Emma Carmichael continued her stellar comeback from injury with a win on her mother Elaine’s Leo Santos in the Intermediate Section M sponsored by Ryecroft Glenton. In second was Belsay’s oldest competitor, Ian Stark riding the Duchess of Devonshire’s Chatsworth Diamond. Former Olympic Mediallist and Team GB stalwart Tina Cook was third on Cymoon F Z, which she co-owns with Mr Jim Chromiak.

In the Open Intermediate Section N, sponsored by Galbraith, it was win for Fools in Love ridden by Cheshire based Hayden Hankey who also took third place on You’ve Got the Lux. Jack Mantel, who trains with Hayden, was second with Jack Thomas Watson’s Jack Daniels.


BE100 Section H – Sponsored by Womble Bond Dickinson

1st – Rachael Slinger & Valeroyal Secret Man, owned by Kimberley Mawdesley & Suzanne Harley-Davies

2nd – Daniel Scott & Ballymolloy Roscoe, owned by Gill Barclay

3rd – Emma Carmichael & Amoureox, owned by Jack Thomas Watson

BE100 Section I – Sponsored by Shortflatt Tower

1st – Katie Magee & Jones JL

2nd – Katie Brickman & Greenkeld’s Moondance

3rd – Sebastian Roldan Olivera & Rachan Wishful Thinking, owned by Jo Chapman Campbell

BE100 Section J – Sponsored by Apartment Group

1st – Jack Mantel & CFH Capri Vivendi, owned by Jack Thomas Watson

2nd – Jemima Fawcett & Kilimazing Buzzy Bee

3rd – Amelia Willcox & Shadow Storm

BE100 Open Section K – Sponsored by Eco-Voltz

1st – Emma Carmichael & Geneva Van de Vallei, owned by Jay Ryder-McKay

2nd – Alice England & Carrow Iroko

3rd – Wizz Leyland & Mr Poker Face

BE90 Section P – Sponsored by Carrs Billington

1st – Rachel Turner & A. S Bewitched, owned by Vicky Errington

2nd – Rachel Valks & McKenzie

3rd – Sophie Isaacs & Harristown Prince

BE90 Section Q – Sponsored by Laland & Bo

1st – Eleanor Mercer & Crosbys Jazzy Number, owned by Laura Crosgrove

2nd – Kate Darley & Bright Illusion, owned by Sarah Halliday

3rd – Harriet Graham & Ardagh Exceed

BE90 Section R – Sponsored by Macomb Farm Shop

1st – Emily Campbell & Malaby Master

2nd – Sarah Thomson & Justso Georgia

3rd – Katie Field & Jubilee Jinx

BE90u18 Section S – Sponsored by Bowden Hall

1st – Freya Pinwill Price & Abi

2nd – Mabel Windram & Ballbay Lady, owned by Emma Rugman

3rd – Katie Aitchison & Glenacolly Atlantic Dungeon

BE105 Section U – Sponsored by Mark Noble Chiropractor 

1st – Robyn Gray & Jazz Time IV, owned by Margaret Francis

2nd – Sian Routledge & Burnlea Sea Safari

3rd – Holly Wybergh & Luidams Girl

BE100U18 Section V – Sponsored by Equine Products

1st – Neeka Kay & Summerdale Sammy

2nd – Scarlett Thornton & Brookfield Carnivan, owned by Lady Rosalind Thornton

3rd – Felix Moran & Upsalls Tia Maria

Project Pony All Stars at Belsay International
In addition to their plethora of International and National Eventing Classes, Belsay were delighted to host the very first Project Pony All Stars competition this year. A fantastic initiative designed to encourage interaction and collaboration between the riders, allowing youth riders the opportunity to team up with the stars of the sport they all look up to, but also giving senior riders a chance to meet and encourage the great group of youth riders that are coming through the system.

After four days of international competition, including the British Pony Championships, British Junior Championships, CCI2*L, CCI2*S & CCI3*s, the results were as follows:


Seniors – Yasmin Ingham & Caroline Basnett

Juniors – Maisy Spratt, Morgan Evenett, Carys Thomas, Toby Roach

Ponies – George Howard, Niahm Reid & Elizabeth Jelfs


Seniors – Harry Mutch

Juniors – Pippa Moore, Anna Price, George Vergerson-Rowley, Elizabeth Barratt, Ada Marson

Ponies – Clara Wilson & Annie Dean


Seniors – Tyler Cassells & Phoebe Locke

Juniors – Olivia Graham, Annabel Finston, Eva Morby, Emma Shaw

Ponies – Jessica McCaldin, Phoebe Woods & Ella Howard

Images courtesy of Athalens

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