The inaugural Liverpool International horse show (1-3 January) has been hailed a success by riders and spectators alike.
The four-star show, masterminded by Bolesworth’s Nina Barbour, ran over new year and boasted a prize fund of £200,000.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic,” Nina told H&H.
“I’m delighted that 50% of the audience have never really been involved in the sport before and have loved it.
“It’s been a stressful six months, but it’s been worth it. We’ve had some great feedback.”
She added that the Echo Arena has given her the option of the venue for the next five years, and that the show will return next year.
Olympic showjumper Peter Charles was thrilled to have a northern event.
“We haven’t had a show start like this since Olympia — there’s nothing on this scale. It’s unprecedented,” he said.
“I am really delighted,” Billy said. “It’s an unbelievable show. The organisers deserve a serious amount of credit. The arena has been nearly full every day. To get a show kicked off in the first year and have big crowds is amazing.”
Across the three days the livestream received more than 85,000 playbacks with more than 500,000 minutes watched.
“A near-capacity crowd enjoyed a very slick performance,” said H&H showjumping reporter Margaret Shaw. “The atmosphere was absolutely brilliant.”
Trade-stand owners also applauded the event, with all 55 stand spaces selling out.
Official merchandise was sold out by the end of day two, and only 20 from 500 fluffy Liverpool toy horses remained.
“I’m blown away and on such a high, as persuading trade stands to come was one of the hardest jobs I’ve had to do,” said trade stands manager Howard Blythe.
Denise Pye of The Custom Cupcake Company, Warrington, told H&H: “This is the first horse show we have ever done and we have had to re-stock twice. We are taking loads of empty trays home and can’t wait for next year.”
For a full report from the show, plus John Whitaker’s thoughts on it, don’t miss this week’s issue of H&H, out Thursday (7 January).