After five wonderful days at the Royal Windsor Horse Show (13-17 May), the H&H team have pretty much seen it all — from unexpected dressage dismounts to cavalry charges and a visit from The Queen. Have a look through our gallery of weird and wonderful sights to find out why we loved this year’s equine extravaganza…
1. Royal spectators
The Queen enjoys popping out to her back garden for a glimpse of the action, not least when some of her own horses and ponies are in the ring. Other royal visitors this year included Peter Phillips and his family and the Duchess Of Cornwall. Strictly no selfies allowed though.
2. A sack race to decide national honours
Competitors in the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games showed athletic ability and great bouncing coordination as England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland battled it out for the top prize. Who knew a common sack could be such a speedy mode of transport?
3. Four seasons in one day
We asked H&H readers to send in their best fancy dress efforts. Here are some of our favourite costumes from…
4. A wealth of tourist attractions
5. The next generation of National Hunt jockeys
Olive Nicholls, daughter of champion National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls, looks to have inherited the racing genes as she leads the field to victory in the Shetland Pony Grand National. Next stop Aintree?
6. Dressage horses who would rather be showjumping
Tantoni Sir Socrates shows tremendous scope to clear the white boards in the prize-giving under dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer. Rumours that they will be competing in next year’s showjumping grand prix remain unfounded.
7. Horses enjoying a snooze in the main arena
8. Hunts celebrating with a £1,000 win
9. The cleanest tack you’ve ever seen
10. Queuing for hours for refreshments that will cost you a week’s wages
11. A Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey turned winning show rider
His “Toast Of New York” jacket was spotted around the showground and then, mounted on the spottiest of Appaloosas, Perfect Storm, racehorse trainer Jamie Osborne adds a new string to his bow by winning Sunday’s ridden class.
12. Showjumpers matching the dressage riders for bling
13. Ponies going so fast they don’t touch the ground
14. You’re not fully dressed without a bowler hat
15. Badly parked Land Rovers
Actually no, this isn’t a case of a Discovery owner forgetting to apply the handbrake, but the title sponsor’s cars make a fantastic distraction — and possible hazard — for competitors in the four-in-hand driving marathon.
16. Some of the most badly behaved horses are in the tradestands
17. The best seats in the house are on a London bus
18. It’s great to be British
Foreign competitors at the show see it as a real eye-opener — where else can you see native breeds crossing paths with world class showjumpers and military riders? The evening performances in particular kept the crowds enthralled and we were proud to celebrate being British. Bring on 2016!