Blair Atholl Horse Trials (Andrew)

Blair Atholl Horse Trials. As far as I can tell there were twenty three guilty, thirty six not proven and one mistrial for a case of mistaken identity with a Shetland Pony.

I admit may not have understood what was going on around me…

The Blair Atholl Horse Trials are an annual event, held in the grounds of Blair Atholl castle. But they may as well be called the Blair Atholl Dog Trials given the number of dogs in the grounds. Or the Blair Atholl Land Rover Trials given the number of Land Rovers in the car park. Or even the Blair Atholl Barbour Jacket & Welly Boot Trials…

Basically, I’m saying there were a lot of farmers, people who wanted to be farmers and dogs who wanted nothing more than to run around a farm chasing sheep all day.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the right gear. There’s loads of stalls selling everything you need to look the part. Though I was a bit taken aback by the large sign for Welligogs – which was a spoonerism away from selling a KKK robe.

The Trials take place over four days – Thursday to Sunday. We went on Saturday to see the main cross country and show jumping.

I admit I know nothing about horses but my wife has been learning to ride so she explained what was happening and that while her jumps may be smaller, the technique was exactly the same.

She said this as we watched one rider fall off.

“Is that what you do?” I asked.

“Exactly, the same,” she said, “I’m just closer to the ground when I fall!”

There’s plenty to see throughout the day as the cross country course has different types of jumps, some water hazards and is long enough that it’s a ramble in itself to move from one place to another.

Every five minutes a horse would gallop along the course with riders with different expressions of happy, joy and positively please make it stop screams of terror depending on how experienced they were.

One thing to watch out for though is that the tickets were cash only. Unless you do what we did and bought the ticket on our phone then showed the phone to the staff at the entrance. A long walk back to Blair Atholl avoided – until we worked out that most of the stalls were cash only and that we’d need to scavenge for food for lunch.

I like seeing new sports and, with a sunny day, some action at all times, and a loudspeaker that blared across the course in an upper class accent updating everyone on the scores, there’s plenty to do.

Would I go back? Probably. But with cash. And a tweed Land Rover.

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