This year’s event runs from 22nd – 26th August, with the Country Fair taking place on both days of the weekend. Visitors can look forward to an eclectic mix of entertainment, perfect for those family members with a finite interest in equestrianism. This year the Fair welcomes flyball, terrier racing and the rather more unusual pig racing, plus the ever popular Horse Power Cossack Show.
Our feathered friends feature in the form of the Quack Commandos. This show demonstrates the skill of the Border Collie as he steers a flock of Indian Runner ducks around a course of obstacles – before members of the public try to outperform the experts.
Sunday visitors can also enjoy the long-established Vintage & Classic Tractor parade.
There is plenty going on earlier in the week too. Blair Castle transforms into shopping heaven for the duration of the horse trials. For four days the showground will be home to over 200 trade stands, offering something for all tastes and budgets. Avenues of quality shops will be selling their wares, from bespoke jewellery and fine art to boutique clothing, traditional tartan and even gourmet dog treats. As for food and drink… a fabulous food hall will be bursting with deliciousness; organic meat, fine wines and spirits, handmade chocolates, cheeses, the list goes on.
For spectators with energy to burn and who want to learn more about the challenges involved in riding around Blair’s testing terrain, the organisers will again hold cross country course walks led by well known riders. Tickets are available from the box office, all proceeds going to Blair’s Official Charity, the My Name’5 Dodie Foundation.
Spectate in style
Spectators opting to buy Membership passes can enjoy CCTV coverage of the event in the Members Marquee, located ringside with its own dedicated garden area. All day refreshments are available both in the Members Marquee and the Owners & Riders Marquee, also ringside with a garden area and equipped with CCTV.
Blair is famous for its parties, which take place each evening. This year they kick off with a ceilidh on the Thursday, entry to which is free, as is Friday’s live band. A charity malt whisky tasting will be held in the Members tent on the Friday, the £20 ticket fee going to My Name’5 Dodie, and finally there is Saturday’s disco, with tickets costing £10 per person.
Don’t forget the horses
In addition to the established one-, two- and three-star eventing competitions and the finale of the 2018 Event Rider Master Series, this year’s Land Rover Blair Castle International is proud to host the Scottish Festival of Eventing for amateur riders competing at the lower levels. This means that five Scottish Champions will be crowned over the course of the event, from the three-star Open Champion down to BE90 (where fences are no bigger than 90cm).
The diverse showing classes, showjumping and cut-throat Pony Club Games also feature so there is plenty of sport for horse lovers of all persuasions.
Paul Bush OBE, Visit Scotland’s Director of Events, said:
“The Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials is a key fixture in our annual calendar of events, helping drive Scotland’s visitor economy by attracting equestrian fans from across the world to our shores. EventScotland has been a long-term supporter of the event and we are delighted to be continuing our support in 2018.
“With Blair Castle providing the perfect stage for Scotland’s biggest equestrian event, the packed programme of events and activities alongside the trials makes for a great day out.”