WILTSHIRE eventers Andrew Nicholson, Harry Meade and Alicia Hawker were among riders from 21 nations to compete at the Land Rover Gatcombe Horse Trials at the weekend.

The two-day event attracted 500 entries, the largest in its history, as preparations continue for the start of the international season.

A number of star horses that have already been accepted for the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials in May were on show – these included Ceylor LAN and Vendredi Biats, ridden by Kitty King.

And it was Ceylor LAN who landed the Open Intermediate section M ahead of Oliver Townend and Ulises, also entered for Badminton. Chippenham’s Meade finished ninth Tenareze.

Elsewhere, New Zealand rider Lucy Jackson and 10-year-old Superstition II took the Advanced Intermediate section ahead of former Badminton winner and 2019 entry Paulank Brockagh, ridden by Australian Sam Griffiths.

Zara Tindall also competed in the class, finishing in the top 20 on both Class Affair and Watkins

The novice classes, which ran on Saturday, proved successful for local riders.

Meade made up for his ninth-placed finish on Tenareze in the Intermediate to win the Intermediate Novice Section G aboard Brookfield Quality.

Meade edged out Lucinda Mesquita and Jem Rose by 1.2 points to scoop a pleasing win, with Tindall and retrained racehorse Gladstone third.

Jason Ferguson – based in Old Sodbury – took the Section D first prize with Barley Sugar Twist.

Barley Sugar Twist is one of five foals they have bred from their mare Twister, and plans are in place for him to compete in the Novice Championship at the Festival of Eventing later this year.

As for Nicholson, he finished fourth with Damaso in the Novice Section B while Dalton III could only manage 18th in the D class.

Jonelle Price experienced better fortunes.

The Mildenhall-based rider ended the Novice Section E class in second with Lime Rickey.

Hawker finished the same class in ninth with Nankin Des Ruettes.

In the Intermediate Section L, Price guided Cloud Dancer II to sixth place.