HORSE riders from near and far are gearing up for Skipton Horse Trials - one of the premier equestrian events in the North of the country.

The two day event, held over the weekend of June 27 and June 28, will feature dressage, show jumping and cross country.

It will be held as usual at John Howard's Heslaker Farm, Carleton, off the A59 between Skipton and Broughton, and is expected to attract not only horse enthusiasts, but families looking for an entertaining day out.

Seen as a premier grassroots event, the British Eventing (BE) affiliated competition takes place twice a year, in both June and August, and last year celebrated its 25th anniversary, with record numbers, of around 600 riders, attending each of the two weekends.

There is also a number of stalls selling tasty snacks and equestrian wear and supplies.

Organisers rely on a huge team of volunteers, of around 120 on each day, and of the support of sponsors.

Planning for the event takes place throughout the year, with final work taking place now to make the sure the ground, which is also used for Skipton Races, is in the very best of condition.

Organiser, Mike Bower, said: "We are all very excited to be in the final run up to the first Skipton Horse Trials of the year.

"Last year saw us reach our 25th anniversary which is a huge milestone for an equestrian event like ours which relies completely on a huge team of volunteers."

He added: "Preparations are already underway to make sure the ground and cross country course are in the best condition possible to provide a great day out for spectators, competitors and volunteers alike."

Last year, the event featured in leading equestrian weekly Horse and Hound as part of a Grassroots feature, and past competitors include Oliver Townend, Jeanette Brakwell, Matthew Wright and Ruth Edge.

Rider, Alexander Cornwell, 17, who features on the front cover of this year's programme with her 17.2hh gelding, Playdun, said Skipton was her first event following a bad fall. which stopped her riding for two months.

"It was my first time at Skipton and the course really suited us a very bold, galloping course, the hedge pictured was similar to the ditch palisade brush that I fell at, so when we jumped it, it definitely gave me a huge confidence boost to be on the other side in one piece."

Organisers are still keen to hear from anyone, business or individual, who would like to sponsor any part of the event.

To find out more, visit the website at . Anyone who would like to volunteer, should email