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A Zebra poses a new challenge for Blenheim’s grass roots riders

Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 15:45
Ellen’s zebra fence

The Fidelity Blenheim International Horse Trials (6-9 September 2012) has unveiled a new fence which will feature in this year’s arena-based ‘Eventer Challenge’ competitions for grass roots riders.  The jump has been designed by nine year old schoolgirl and eventing fan, Ellen Coles.

Ellen came up with the idea for a brand new Zebra-themed show jump, as her entry in the ‘Design a Show Jump’ competition held at last year’s horse trials.   The competition challenged local school children to create a new fence to be used as part of the ‘Eventer Challenge’ competitions including the popular Tri-Zone arena-based event for BE 100 competitors, for which entries open on 1st May.  It was part of an initiative to involve children in sport and resulted in over 200 local schoolchildren coming to the event in 2011.

Ellen, from Garsington Primary School, near Blenheim, is a major fan of the sport and already has an enviable collection of autographs and pictures of herself with some famous event riders.   During the unveiling of her fence, she was able to add international Event Rider, Michael Jackson, to her list when he made a return trip to Blenheim Palace to ‘test drive’ the fence on Carole Mortimer’s Jagganath.

Michael and Jagganath came 6th in the 8 and 9 year old horse CIC*** at Blenheim in 2011 and are aiming to be back in 2012 to contest the CCI***.   “Blenheim is a great event and I am looking forward to seeing the new cross country fences and layout that I know they have planned for this year,” said Michael.

This year the Fidelity Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials will be held on 6th – 9th of September with a packed programme which not only includes the CCI*** and 8 and 9 year old CIC*** international eventing classes but also the Eventer Challenge Classes for Pony Clubs, Riding Clubs and BE 100 competitors plus a full schedule of demonstrations and displays, a wide range of shopping opportunities and children’s attractions, craft marquee and a food and drink hall.

Tickets start at just £8*per adult with children under 12 getting in free and complimentary parking for all. More information on the event can be found and advance tickets purchased online from

Press enquiries to:  Sandy Thwaites, Sporting Horse Promotions 01249-760106 (07738-023837)

Ellen Coles by her zebra fence

1.    Michael Jackson on Jagganath, test driving Ellen’s zebra fence at its unveiling at Blenheim Palace.
2.    Ellen Coles by her zebra fence with Michael Jackson on Jagganath

NOTE:     *Advanced Discount price before 31st August