Horses will all but disappear from the rings of the East of England Show next year (5-7 July 2013).

The show organisers intend to concentrate on “rural life, education and heritage” in 2013 and remove horse classes – except those for heavy horses – from the catalogue.

Showing classes will move to the Festival of Hunting, held in mid-July at the showground.

However, it is unclear what will happen to the showjumping classes.

Equifest, the five-day show that is run at the venue in August, is not affected.

Betsy Branyan, equestrian events manager for the showground, told H&H: “We will move as much of the horse content from the East of England Show to the Festival of Hunting as we can, but it is a one-day show.”

She felt confident most of the showing classes could be slotted into the Festival.
“I don’t know about the showjumping,” she admitted.

Iain Graham of British Showjumping said his society would be working with the committee to come up with a solution.

The East of England Agricultural Society had been working to make the show more viable. This year’s event was held three weeks later than its usual June date to avoid a clash with Three Counties.

But it was marred by bad weather – and heavy rain caused the showjumping classes and the inter-hunt relay to be cancelled.

“In retrospect, it was not a good year to try this out. We made a substantial loss,” said Ms Branyan.

Showing producer Loraine Homer said East of England Show has been in decline for many years, since its heyday in the mid-1990s.

“It used to be huge,” she said. “There was the’ tricolour’ of the Royal, the East of England and the Great Yorkshire. Two of those have gone now.

“I don’t think that’s East of England’s fault, it’s just the way showing is going,” she added.

This news story was published in the current issue of H&H (27 September 2012)