Blair Castle International Horse Trials and Country Fair has beaten strong competition from England to win a prestigious trade award for the second time.
The event, which takes place from August 26 to 29 this year beat some big names to win the British Equestrian Trade Association’s Equestrian Event of the Year. The Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, the Festival of Eventing at Gatcombe and Burghley horse trials were the other three shortlisted.
However Scotland’s only three star three day event came out top thanks to the way in which the organisers make an effort to ensure a warm Highland welcome for everyone who attends the event from trade exhibitors to competitors and spectators.
This is the seventh year of the BETA awards. Blair Castle last won it in 2007 and was shortlisted in 2009. Sponsored by Joules Clothing, the Equestrian Event of the Year Award acknowledges the event that best works with its trade exhibitors and takes their needs and requirements fully into consideration.
Assistant Director of Blair Castle Horse Trials, Hannah Wilkins travelled to a Gala Dinner in Birmingham last weekend to receive the award from Tom Joule (pictured above). She said, “It is a real honour to be nominated for an award like this by our trade stands and an even greater honour to win it for the second time. We have almost 200 trade exhibitors at Blair and they constitute a major part of the event. This award reflects our commitment to those traders as well as their support of the event. We have a fantastic range of top quality exhibitors and a reputation for great shopping."
Last year around 37,000 people attended the event which was supported by EventScotland making it one of the biggest events in the Scottish sporting calander. It combines top class eventing with a spectacular Country Fair and a myriad of extra equestrian activities such as showing, arena displays and showjumping all in the magnificent setting of white-walled Blair Castle in the Scottish Highlands.
According to BETA this award was inspired by the vital role that tradestands play in ensuring the success of many outdoor and indoor shows. Trade exhibitors from the show circuit were invited to nominate the event that works best for them.
One nominator said, “The organising team at Blair treat the trade as well as they do the visitors. They run an event with entries that surpass anything else in the UK, at the same time as a country fair and huge BSJA competition.”
Now in its 21st year Blair Castle is well established on the equestrian circuit having previously hosted Junior and Young Rider European Eventing Championships. It has recently been selected to host the FEI European Young Riders again in 2011.