Designers Ian Stark and David Evans have been putting the finishing touches to their cross-country courses for the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials in the Chatsworth Park, next month.

Ian is responsible for the course for the showpiece international three-star Dodson & Horrell challenge, which is ridden on the Sunday of the event. Hugely respected by riders for the imposing yet inviting style of his courses, they will find that Ian has made a couple of concessions this time, but without reducing the overall adrenalin-pumping feel of the track.

An early corner obstacle that caused head-scratching last year has been removed, but riders will find the question at the subsequent feature fence, Queen Mary’s Bower, no less demanding; crowds traditionally gather around this landmark feature of the park in eager anticipation of horses and riders tackling the big drop into the water and splashing through a double of brush fences.

Another popular feature obstacle, the Ice Pond, also has a different approach; the daunting downhill approach has been reduced, but the line through it will be more technical. Riders will find the uphill climb to the top of the park less taxing, but a spectacular bounce of castle fences will still be waiting for them at the top. After that, it’s downhill to the finish, but riders shouldn’t relax too much; Ian has created some new fences to slow them down and keep them thinking on the gallop home.

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this year’s course is easier, because it’s definitely still challenging, but it’s perhaps more horse-friendly,” says Ian, who himself won the international class back in 1999 on the Duchess of Devonshire’s horse, Stanwick Ghost.

“Riding a clear round at Chatsworth gives competitors a sense of achievement because the terrain is testing and the whole backdrop of the house and park gives the event such a big-time atmosphere.”

Ian is also designing the course at the Longines FEI European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle in the autumn. “It’s quite similar terrain there and I’m anticipating that the combination of that and the same designer will bring more nationalities to Chatsworth, such as French, German, Irish and Swedish riders, to get a feel of what I’m doing.”

David Evans will also have an international field to contend with in the one-star classes on Saturday when a group of up-and-coming French riders arrive at Chatsworth as part of a cultural programme.

“My aim is to provide a good introduction to international level and a proper education for young horses and riders,” says David. “It’s always pleasing to see young riders make a go of it, as they did last year, and the busy backdrop of the flags, tradestands and crowds gives an international feel that they might not have experienced before.” 

The Dodson & Horrell International Horse Trials provides two full days of thrilling cross-country action, on Saturday and Sunday, which will feature many of the world’s leading riders, plus a feast of family entertainment and shopping. There's the British Scurry and Driving Trials; Pony Club Mounted Games and Falconry displays. Dog lovers are in for a treat with the gundog displays, have-a-go dog agility, dog show and hound parade.

The event has lots for children to enjoy from meeting the Chatsworth Farmyard animals to Punch and Judy shows; face painting; Mini Land Rovers; bouncy castle and giant slide.

Tickets start at £10 for adults and £4.50 for children aged five and over; for more information, visit


For further information or images please contact:

Liz Bee (

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Redbrick Communications, 68 St

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T: 0115 910 1500


Notes to editors:

Ian Stark OBE had an illustrious riding career as a member of the British eventing team from 1984-2000, during which time he rode at five Olympic Games and won numerous medals, including the European title in 1991, plus Badminton Horse Trials three times. He took up course-designing in 2005 and officiates at the international events at Tattersalls and Bramham, plus three events in the USA and the European Championships at Blair Castle in September.

David Evans has been course-builder at Chatsworth since the event was restarted in 1999. He is one of the most sought-after builders in the world, having worked at the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2005 and 2011 European Championships. He now course-designs up to three-star level, at Burgham, and is involved in promoting course-design in African countries.

Chatsworth House Trust

The Chatsworth House Trust is an independent charity (no 511149) set up by the 11th Duke of Devonshire in 1981, to ensure the long-term survival of Chatsworth for the benefit of the public.  All admission and event income from visitors, together with a percentage of income from shops and restaurants, goes directly to this Trust, and can only be spent on the upkeep and improvement of the house, collections, garden, farmyard and park.

Chatsworth is a member of the Treasure Houses of England, 10 of the most magnificent palaces, stately homes and castles in England. 

Chatsworth is only 16 miles from the MI, 10 miles from Chesterfield, and 8 miles north of Matlock, in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park and is well served by transport links throughout the UK.

Dodson & Horrell

For further information, please visit or call us on 01832 737300

Dodson & Horrell Ltd has been leading the way in animal nutrition for 76 years pioneering manufacturing methods and promoting nutritional research.  Dodson & Horrell is particularly well known as manufacturers of feed for all types of horses from performance to leisure but also produces food for a range of animals from working gundogs to racing camels and ostriches.

The Royal Warrant of Appointment was first granted to Dodson & Horrell in 1985 for horse feed; and further extended in 2006 to that of Horse and Dog food Manufacturer to HM Queen Elizabeth II.

Dodson & Horrell Ltd apart from exporting horse feed to over 42 countries also manufactures other dog foods brands apart from Chudleys, such as Autarky and Gusto and are proud to work with charities such as the Retired Greyhound Trust.

For media enquiries please call 01458 250200 or email

Twitter: @DodsonHorrell

Instagram: @dodsonhorrell

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