Europe’s finest ride at Bodiam

Action from last year's Garden of England Show at Bodiam
Action from last year's Garden of England Show at Bodiam

The best reining riders in Europe are set to compete in the locality.

In this epic year of sport, the Garden of England Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary and in recognition of this, the show committee has gone all out to make it the best ever.

World champions Bernard Fonck and Rudi Kronstiener among others will battle it out in the Bodiam International Arena for some wonderful prizes and prize-money in excess of £30,000.

Belgian rider Fonck, the 2011 NRHA World Champion, will go head-to-head with Austria’s Kronstiener, the 2010 NRHA World Champion and newly-crowned European Open Champion.

Both riders are running neck-and-neck in the race to become this year’s open World Champion and the gauntlet has been firmly flung down.

Bringing some glamour and some tough competition, FEI medallist Riecky Young from Holland is one to watch closely.

Reserve Intermediate World Champion and Bodiam-based trainer Doug Allen will be on board the ever-popular and flamboyant stallion Jacs Little Sunrise.

In the non-professional division, two men from Italy are attempting to gain this year’s World Non-Pro title. Claudio Risso, on his stallion Spat O Blue, was the 2011 NRHA World Non-Pro Champion and intends to repeat this victory.

However, Manuel Bolzano, the newly-crowned European Non-Pro Champion riding 2011 Open Champion horse Great Sunburst, will not let that happen easily.

Also on form is Marcus Duenster, from Austria, victor at last year’s Garden of England show, and Andrea Castrucci, from Italy, but Bodiam-based riders Francesca and Jessica Sternberg will not make it a cake-walk for any of them.

The British team will open the show today (Wednesday) as they compete for a place to ride at the next FEI Championship event. Proceedings will continue during the remainder of the week before concluding on Sunday.