Organisers of the Royal Show want suggestions on how to go forward with the equestrian events that will be retained at Stoneleigh Park following the loss of the agricultural show.

Last Friday, show organisers the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) said this year’s Royal (7-10 July) will be the last “in its present form”.

RASE chairman of trustees Hugh Oliver-Bellasis said a succession of problems — from outbreaks of foot-and-mouth (FMD), bluetongue and bad weather — left little option.

“The event has struggled, both financially and in attracting visitors,” he said. “It has been unique as an agricultural summer event, but today’s dire economic crisis is an added challenge and the show is no longer economically viable.”

But RASE spokesman Denis Chamberlain was quick to reassure H&H that an equestrian show will go on.

“Our plan is to have a major horse event here — the slot we have in July is quite firmly in the horse calendar,” he said.

At present, the Royal Show covers a vast cross-section from Retraining of Racehorses to heavy horses, show jumping and driving to breed classes. Organisers are talking to “all sections” of the horseworld about retaining the existing classes — which include 50 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers — and starting more.

Read this story in full in the current issue of Horse & Hound (29 April, ’09)