Zara Phillips rides at Brightling Park

Zara Phillips riding at the 2013 Brightling Park International Horse Trials. Picture courtesy Mark Siggers
Zara Phillips riding at the 2013 Brightling Park International Horse Trials. Picture courtesy Mark Siggers

The locality was treated to a royal visit last weekend as Zara Phillips took part in the Reverdy Brightling Park International Horse Trials.

The Queen’s grand-daughter was among some 500 riders who competed in the popular annual event as several thousand spectators lapped up the summer sunshine (in marked contrast to the soggy conditions of last year).

Ms Phillips lined-up at Brightling Park even though her pregnancy became public knowledge early last week. The wife of former England rugby star Mike Tindall initially said she planned to continue riding, but days later announced she will no longer be competing with her pregnancy now into its 13th week.

The 32-year-old is a former winner of the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award and clinched a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics, but left Brightling Park without any of the top prizes.

Wiltshire-based New Zealander Lizzie Brown won the flagship CIC2* class, beating off stiff competition from seasoned professionals such as Sir Mark Todd and Phillips.

Last year’s CIC1* winner, American Lis Halliday-Sharp, came second to Brown, while Frenchman Gilles Pons finished third. The hugely popular two-day event is highly revered throughout the eventing world and attracts top riders from across the globe.

“It went very well and we were pleased to welcome such a big crowd,” event organiser Gardie Grissell said. “The weather was ideal and made for a great day of competition. We’re very happy with how the weekend turned out. Roll on the next one!”

See tomorrow’s Battle Observer for the full article.