East of England Show received an overwhelming vote of confidence from the horse world, with large entries confirmed by high numbers forward and audiences comparing well with last year.

Chief horse steward Tony Norman had been told by the show’s committee that this year’s event would only go ahead if he believed that the equestrian section would be sufficiently well supported and could be run without increasing the risk of spreading thedisease.

“We had already received more entries than the previous year, and I felt sure that we could pull it off,” he explained. “We made the decision to return entries from FMD infected areas out of consideration for local farmers. There hasbeen some criticism, but you have to draw the line somewhere.”

Stringent disinfection procedures were in action, with lorries restricted to one entrance via a wheel wash, and riders required to dismount and walk over a disinfectant mat, whileleading their horse over a separate mat before entering the show ground.

“We were expecting some flack from competitors,” said Tony, “but, despite the alterations to our normal arrangements, it has gone smoothly.”

See this week’s issue (21 June) of Horse & Hound magazine for full report