Based just outside of Edinburgh, Hopetoun Estate provides a magnificent backdrop for any event. The stately home, a splendour of Scottish architecture, runs a busy event schedule. This May the Estate will welcome back FLY Open Air festival which showcases the planet’s top electronic live acts & DJs and then 3 days later will see the arrival of athletes representing the very best of British Carriage driving. A combination of the brilliant team of staff and driving trials volunteers manage an incredibly quick turnaround and also set up a detailed course that not many places would be able to accommodate.
Carriage driving may not be the most well-known equestrian discipline, but it is full of excitement, competition and teamwork. Whether you’re competing, supporting, marshalling, sponsoring or even judging, it makes you feel part of something pretty special. The year of events is full of ups and downs, challenges and triumphs, early starts for training and long drives to competitions and home again. But it’s all worth it when events like the Hopetoun National & International Horse Driving Trials come along. A breath-taking setting at Hopetoun Estate, beautiful grounds and people from all over the world coming together to share their love of carriage driving.
Background of the event
The driving trials at Hopetoun, organised by the SCDA as their flagship event, celebrate their 20th Anniversary this year, and are one of only two international carriage driving events held within the UK, the other being Sandringham. Preparation for the event starts months in advance, so the grounds are ready to be transformed and ready for visitors and competitors to arrive.
The event was initially started up in 2000 and since then it has gone from strength to strength. Over the years the event has developed, and alterations have taken place, most notably being the creation of the main arena in 2001 which is now used as the focal point of the event.
What’s in store?
Carriage driving trial is one of the eight international equestrian sport horse disciplines recognized by the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) and is most similar to the equestrian sport of ridden eventing.
The event comprises of an action-packed weekend of exciting international competition from Thursday 23th to Sunday 26th May. The incredible marathon course covers 18km of ground, and the quiet, tranquil Deer Park of Hopetoun Estate transforms into a hive of activity where there’s something for everyone.
If class and elegance is what you’re looking for, then the Dressage on Thursday and Friday is right up your street. The eight obstacle Marathon will make Saturday a day not to miss. Sunday brings the event to a close with the cones test.
The competition attracts a wide range of competitors from grass roots up to GB athletes. This year Hopetoun will be the a Selection Event for athletes wishing to represent GB in the upcoming Pony World Championships taking place in Hungary in September, the Horse Teams who will be competing at the European Championships in Germany in August and the Horse Pairs who have their World Championships being held in Germany in September so expect some serious competition for the coveted places on Teams.
In addition to the driving trials there is also the opportunity to see other competitions over the weekend such as the RDA Carriage Driving Qualifying event for their National Championships at Hartpury in July, TREC Scotland’s first competition at Hopetoun, and BDS Showing Classes on Saturday 25th May. There will be something for the car enthusiasts with the All Rover Rally, which includes both Rover Cars and Land Rovers from over the years, and of course the famous Terrier Racing takes place as usual on Friday evening.
Hopetoun Estate makes sure that the whole family is catered for this May Bank holiday with not only the equestrian attraction in the Deer Park but also the Scottish Italian Car Day and Ground Walks also taking place on Sunday 26th May.
So, get 23rd-26th May 2019 marked up in your diary!