Two new international horse shows vie for London

  • A show organised by the Global Champions Tour (GCT) and another masterminded by Horsepower Ltd, the group behind Olympia and Royal Windsor, are in the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) draft calendar for 2013.

    The GCT show is to be held at Kensington Palace Gardens from 6-9 June and Horsepower’s — which will also include dressage — at Horse Guards Parade from 23-25 July.

    But the Royal Parks only expect one of the shows to happen — although it won’t identify which one.

    Horse Guards Parade is historically a ceremonial site and accommodated 15,000 spectators daily for the Olympic beach volleyball this summer.

    Simon Brooks-Ward, managing director of Horsepower told H&H: “We are in the midst of planning the event in detail and will be announcing those plans when we are ready.

    “We want to ensure that all our ducks are in a row before going public,” said Mr Brooks-Ward.

    “We have received huge support from riders, the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), potential sponsors and television.”

    Britain is the only significant European showjumping nation yet to join the GCT, the lucrative series founded in 2006 by Dutch Olympic gold medal-winner Jan Tops.

    Mr Tops chose Kensington Palace Gardens for its stunning backdrop and proximity to high-end visitor amenities and appointed Peter Phillips’ new company SEL-UK (Sports & Entertainment Ltd) to deliver the Kensington venue.

    The Princess Royal’s son has a background in professional sport management, working in Formula 1 and the Royal Bank of Scotland’s sponsorship division.

    “The support we have had from potential sponsors, riders and other people within the sport has been largely positive,” said Mr Phillips.

    “Regarding funding, we are in discussion with a number of people.

    “Sponsorship will be an important part of it but the finances do make sense, otherwise we would not be planning it.”

    Kensington Palace Gardens is quite small and Mr Phillips estimates there is a spectator capacity of up to 3,000.

    “But it is a beautiful setting and, with that number, we will create a fantastic and intimate atmosphere, inherent to the GCT series as a whole,” he added.

    Andrew Finding, chief executive of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) said: “It is very exciting to see proposals for a very real legacy to the Olympic Games on the horizon in London.”

    To read the full story see the current issue of H&H (8 November 2012)

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