This year’s Giffords Circus is unlikely to disappoint even the most eagle-eyed of equestrians.

On the line-up for the 2015 show is a live fairground carousel and a 13hh pony being ridden by a bear (not a real one, it might be worth addding).

The topsy, turvy world of this village green circus, that has toured the south of England for the past 14 summers, doesn’t get much more magical. And amongst this year’s performers you can spot an ex-event rider and a former Hennessy Gold Cup winner who have joined the circus for the summer.

A month before the show kicks off on 15 May, Horse & Hound paid a visit to the circus’ new base at Fennells Farm outside Stroud in Gloucestershire, to watch the preparations in full swing.

Giffords Circus in pictures

Giffords Circus on 10 04 2015
Nell Gifford, an Oxford graduate who grew up hunting with the VWH and was a keen Pony Club member, started the circus with her husband Toti in 2000

Giffords Circus on 10 04 2015
The team: former National Hunt jockey Dan Fortt, circus expert Dany Cesar and former two-star eventer Emma Beresford put the three greys who will form a live fairground carousel in the show through their paces

Giffords Circus on 10 04 2015
Dan Fortt takes Nell’s five-year-old daughter Red for a ride

Giffords Circus on 10 04 2015
Five-year-old Red, who has a twin brother Cecil, is pony mad. Will the circus beckon for her one day?

Giffords Circus on 10 04 2015
Dan Fortt dons a bear costume for this year’s show

Giffords Circus on 10 04 2015
Dany Cesar gets underway with trick-training, with Emma Beresford on board

Giffords Circus on 10 04 2015
Emma’s ex-eventer — whose last outing was the CIC2* at Barbury — is being kept in the wings for Nell to ride in this year’s show

Giffords Circus on 10 04 2015
Take a bow: Emma gets to grips with the tricks — a far cry from her eventing background

Giffords Circus runs from 15 May-20 September 2015. Find out more at www.giffordscircus.com

Read the full feature about this year’s Giffords Circus in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (7 May 2015)

Horse & Hound recommends that a hard hat is worn at all times when mounted