Showjumpers at all levels have the chance to win trips to New York or Vienna in an innovative unaffiliated competition series.

Willow Banks equestrian centre, in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, is offering the Big Apple trip to the winner of its 1.05m league once again this year, and the Austrian adventure to whoever takes the 80cm title.

This is the third year the centre has run the New York competition, this year expanding by offering the Vienna trip as well to offer more riders a similar chance.

“We wanted to give the people competing at lower levels the chance to win a good prize,” Willow Banks owner Piers Warmoth told H&H.

“First prize at those levels might be £20, but instead you could win a trip to New York – people absolutely love it.”

The centre’s first qualifying unaffiliated show is this Saturday (11 February), with the chance to earn points throughout the 2018 season. The top 40 in each league will be invited to the final in September, at which the winners of each class will win the holidays, and more.

“We really go to town on the prizegiving,” Mr Warmoth said. “We’ve had a podium, champagne, flags – it was really good, really different.

“With the prize, you could feel the tension in the air – it really was a good day.”

Both competitions are open to all riders, affiliated and unaffiliated, and both horses and ponies.

“It’s open to everyone and it’s not all about speedy people; both years, the only triple clear has won,” Mr Warmoth said.

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“It seems to have worked well for us. The idea the first year was that the final would pay for the trip, but then we’ve got sponsors – this year’s are Equestrizone and North Killingholme Transport.

“I don’t know why more show centres don’t do something like this, as we definitely saw an increase in the entries; the extra people more than pay for it.”

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