The summer is over and (thankfully) the hype of Christmas is still a tiny dot on the horizon.

What we’re left with is the awkward middle ground of October — it’s not one nor the other. It’s not cold or hot, we have no idea what to wear and our horses have even less of an idea of what is going on with their coats. So thank goodness for Horse of the Year Show (7-11 October 2015) to give us a landmark — a beacon of the autumn if you like.

Here’s why we’re excited about the 2015 HOYS extravaganza…

1. The drama of the Puissance

The ultimate solution for blowing away any post-summer blues is watching combinations (with nerves of steel) tackling a 7ft-plus wall. Last year’s class was so tight that four riders (Joseph Clayton, Donald Whitaker, Charlotte Flack and David Simpson) took the honours in a tie, when none of them left the wall standing.

2. The ultimate showing fix

With 27 championship classes covering the most popular of British breeds and types, this is where it’s at when it comes to showing. Since March, tens of thousands of competitors have been chasing their coveted HOYS tickets. And it all comes to a head this week, with the champions of each class going forward to contest the ultimate accolades: the Supreme Horse of the Year and Supreme Pony of the Year.

3. Girl band mania

HOYS is about to get a whole lot trendier, when the six-strong girl band HoneyBuns, who starred in this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, takes to the Andrews Bowen International Arena on Sunday evening (11 October) as part of the show’s finale. If you’re worried you’re missing something, it’s not completely random. Band member Corrin Knox is the daughter of HOYS commentator Carey Knox and has competed at the show herself on her 12.2hh pony Cottrell Fanfare.

Continued below…

4. Mounted games envy

If we could change one thing about our childhood, being armed with a supersonic games pony (and some marginally more flexible limbs) would be up there. This week, six teams — the Badsworth Hunt, East Cheshire, Monmouthshire, Lanark & Upperward, Romney Marsh and Strathearn — who have foughts off 250 other teams to qualify for HOYS, will battling it out for the coveted Prince Philip Cup. An underrated spectator sport…

5. Metropolitan Police heroics

The Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch Activity Ride may leave you wondering whether these are in fact real horses, as they jump through fire and a solid paper wall. Add to that the riders removing their stirrups, tunics and saddles whilst riding over a series of fences and you’ll begin to realise the real meaning of the words “handy pony”.

6. Edge-of-your-seat scurry racing

If you’ve never watched scurry racing before – you’ll wonder what you’ve been doing with your time. The adrenalin-pumping Osborne Refrigerators Double Harness Scurry Racing is a test of speed and accuracy, with teams of two ponies in harness attempting to complete the course in the least time. (And a high-energy commentator — often breathless with the action — is guaranteed to add to the excitement.)

7. Awe-inspiring vaulters

Prepared to be wowed by the athleticism of the Team GBR vaulters who are going to be back in action at the show following their popularity last year. Warning: all that flipping and tumbling is likely to leave you feeling decidely flat-footed…

8. And finally… shopping mania

Credit cards (and comfy shoes) at the ready because there are 12 hours a day of shopping heaven at HOYS up for grabs — open from 9am each day until 15mins after the final evening interval. Is it too soon to make headway on your Christmas shopping? We don’t think so. Plus rider signings will take place everyday from the likes of John and Michael Whitaker, Tim Stockdale and Ben Maher, so you can get your celeb fix at the same time.

For more information visit hoys.co.uk

Don’t miss our full report from this year’s HOYS in 15 October issue of Horse & Hound magazine