A “revolution in showing” is being promised by the organisers of a new event offering prize-money totalling £50,000.
The New Vision Horse Show is the brainchild of show organiser Mike Florence and will be held at The Hand Equestrian Centre, Bristol, on 21-22 September.
“We think showing has gone flat and hasn’t moved with the times,” Mr Florence told H&H. “There’s been nothing like it in this country before and we want to give showing the fresh air it so needs.”
Mr Florence explained that every class at the show would carry prize-money down to eighth place, with £600 to each class winner and £1,000 to every champion. Details of the prizes for the supreme championship classes are yet to be announced.
Entries are open to all and no class will cost more than £30 to enter. The schedule will be similar to that at HOYS, which takes place less than two weeks later.
“Prize-money is the key,” said Mr Florence. “We want to look after owners.”
The funding for the show is in the bank and guaranteed for five years, according to Mr Florence, and has largely been provided by West Country comedian and show horse owner Jethro and Irish producer Hugh McCusker, former sponsor of the hunter classes at HOYS.
Mr Florence, himself a panel judge, was critical of the judging process at some shows and said the assessment at the New Vision Horse Show would be “transparent and open”.
He explained: “There will be four judges in each class — two conformation and two riding judges — and when the top six go through to the championships in the evening, there will be four completely new judges.”
Top producer Lynn Russell praised the thinking behind the new show.
“It’s just what the industry needs,” she said. “The prize-money will be a tremendous incentive, as showing lacks in that area.
“I think it’s great that it’s so near to HOYS. It will be especially useful for novice horses and I also think HOYS shouldn’t be complacent — the costs of competing there are becoming prohibitive.”
When contacted by H&H, HOYS director Mark Wein was unavailable for comment.