Horse Riding and Racing

Horse Riding in the Cotswolds

When it comes to horse riding Cotswolds is horse country par excellence with it's own strong riding culture (a tip for shoppers - we have more than our fair share of outdoor and riding clothes shops). Horse riding in the Cotswolds is a way of life for many people, aided by miles of bridleways.

Horsing around - Charlotte Verdon from Lynt Polo Club explains equestrian activities in the Cotswolds

There can be few areas in the UK which offer such an extensive range of equestrian disciplines, let alone being performed to such a high standard as those on offer in the Cotswold region.

Whether you are an enthusiastic newcomer simply wishing to enjoy the stunning scenery on offer from horseback, or an avid Eventing follower you will not be disappointed. Badminton, the greatest three-day event in the world, held during May, lies to the South of the region, whilst the Thames path runs from Cirencester to London, much of which is bridle path. The region is home to the first ever woman to compete internationally representing the UK in tentpegging (March 2012), it is also the home of Princess Anne and daughter, Zara Tindall, both top event riders and hosts of the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe.

Cirencester Park houses the UK’s oldest Polo Club, founded in 1896, beautiful polo grounds are nestled in stunning parkland, there are few better places to enjoy a picnic and such an exhilarating sport. There are no fewer than seven polo clubs in the area and Lynt Polo Club, nr Lechlade, operates year round with some of the best polo facilities in the UK. There are also healthy polo crosse and horse ball communities.

All things ‘horsey’ are encouraged from a young age in the Cotswolds. A busy Pony Club scene motivates children to ride almost before they can walk. The Beaufort, Vale of the White Horse, Old Berks, Cotswold, North Cotswold and Heythrop all represent former hound packs. Drag hunting has replaced the traditional sport and is much in evidence during winter weekends. Other Cotswold hunting spin-offs continue, with a buzzing point to point season, incorporating local jockeys and trainers as well as those from further afield. The Yeomanry race, not for the faint hearted, is quite a spectacle and can be caught during November to the South of the region.

The Valley of the Racehorse borders the Cotswolds and it is therefore little surprise to find world class racing in the region. During March, ‘The Festival’, at Cheltenham, is known as ‘the jewel in jump racing’s crown’ and it simply attracts the finest horses, jockeys, trainers, owners, followers and fashions from across the globe, culminating in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A wonderful few days of British tweed!

Events in the Cotswolds

Cheltenham Gold Cup
Taking place at the world famous Cheltenham Racecourse, this is the highlight of the National Hunt season. 13th March - 16th March 2012.
Horse racing at Cheltenham Racecourse also includes meets throughout the year, making Cheltenham a popular destination for race fans all year.

Badminton Horse Trials
Badminton Horse Trials is one of the most challenging and exciting equestrian events. 3rd May - 7th May 2012.

Blenheim Horse Trials
Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials offer a fabulous opportunity to see some of the world’s finest riders and their horses compete against one another in a truly spectacular venue. 6th September - 9th September 2012.
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