International showjumping will return to South Yorkshire next April.
The CSI*** Yorkshire International Showjumping Event, at Sheffield’s Motor Point Arena, is the brainchild of former Bramham Horse Trials organiser Debora Homewood and has the backing of the regional tourist board — Welcome to Yorkshire.
The event (22-24 April) will run for three years initially and in 2011 will offer more than £143,000 in rider prize-money.
“Many showjumpers are from Yorkshire so it seemed appropriate to be in the thick of it,” said Ms Homewood.
The date for the international became available earlier this summer following the demise of the British Open — run since 2003, first at the Sheffield Hallam Arena and latterly at the NEC, Birmingham.
“I don’t want people to think we are trying to replicate the British Open. I’ve some whacky ideas,” said Ms Homewood.
Spectators will get “much more for their money than to just sit and watch”, she added.
Forty riders have been invited to compete, including the top 20 Brits. The show will also host the winter national finals, the British Showjumping (BS) winter A and B — renamed the “Welcome to Yorkshire Jump” — the winter C and winter amateur final.
Rider John Whitaker said: “It’s wonderful news. Yorkshire is steeped in showjumping history and this is a great venue.”
And a BS spokesman added: “We are in desperate need of top-level international shows, for our own performance requirements and to showcase our sport at that level. This is very, very welcome.”
• Tickets are on sale from October and cost £20 each until 1 January 2011, with the best seats sold first. Visit www.yorkshireinternational.co.uk
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (16 September, ’10)