HOYS organisers say they are “50-50” on whether to keep the new six-day format at next year’s event, writes Flora Watkins.

For the first time, HOYS started on a Tuesday this year (4 October) to accommodate the Express Eventing final.

But concerns have been raised that the addition of a sixth day diluted, rather than increased, the show’s audience.

One trader with a stand in the retail village told H&H that business was very quiet on the Tuesday.

“It was so dead, we might as well not have bothered,” she said.

But Helena Pettit, managing director of Grandstand Media – which runs HOYS – said the audience was up on last year.

“We don’t have the final figures yet,” she told H&H. “But we are ahead of last year.

“I would say that we have grown the audience from Wednesday to Sunday – and attracted a certain amount of new people on the Tuesday for the Express Eventing competition.”

Grandstand Media will now review this year’s show and seek feedback from competitors, members of the public and Express Eventing.

Ms Pettit said it would then make a decision on whether to keep the sixth day.

“It’s a great addition to the show. We need to look at the cost implications – but I wouldn’t rule it out,” she added.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (13 October, 2011)