A new “Strictly Showing” competition, with prizes worth £3,000, is being launched at the South West Christmas Equine Fair in Exeter.

There are two classes: on the first day, open ridden, any type or colour, not exceeding 153cm; and on day two, open ridden, any type or colour, 153cm and above.

Entry will be restricted to 16 per class and entrants selected by ballot.

The first-placed rider on each day will win goods worth £1,500 from Mole Valley Farmers, Natural Animal Feeds (NAF), Charles Owen, Caldene and John Whitaker International.

Lining up to judge those exhibiting will be successful sport horse producer Moggy Hennessey and showing experts Stewart Stevens and Stephanie Hill.

Miss Hennessy said: “I’m looking forward to it. It will be something different, not your run-of-the-mill judging of normal county shows.

“I think it’s nice that they are giving out very handsome rewards. I know it’s not money, as such, but they are all things that cost a lot over the years to use on your horse and I think that’s a nice idea.”

The organiser of the event Simon Jones said: “This is the first year we’ve introduced showing. The fair has grown year-on-year and is the biggest event in the south-west.

“We wanted to introduce an element of competition and hope it will be the first of many years to come.”

This year’s fair will host more than 150 stands, and demonstrations, including one by Pippa and William Funnell and a guest appearance from Mary King.

  • Strictly Showing takes place on 5-6 December at Westpoint Arena, Exeter. To enter, visit www.contour.uk.net, and for tickets call the box office, tel: 01749 813899. Ticket prices start at £8.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (8 October, ’09)