11 reasons to visit ‘the festival for horse lovers’

Find out more about Equifest, the show that draws thousands of riders, horses and competitors through its gates every year and how you can get involved

1. Equifest is one of the largest equestrian events in the showing calendar. It attracts more than 10,000 riders and visitors each year. In 2015 there were more than 12,000 entries and 1,500 onsite stables

2. A new addition to the schedule for 2016 is the veteran rider class, designed for those riders over the age of 40 who want to be competitive but have fun

3. Don’t want to compete but still want to gain experience of the show ring? Equifest has a whole host of ‘training’ classes. Designed to help you improve your performance, judges will offer advice to competitors that spectators and fellow exhibitors will also be able to hear

4. Try ‘showage’. This is a cross between a dressage test and a short show, where you design your own test, incorporating the showmanship and style of a showing class with dressage elements

5. Go eventing at a showing show. Complete a BE90 dressage test, then go ‘cross-country’ over a working hunter style course, followed by a round of showjumps.

6. Show to music. Ride a “story” you have created to music.

7. Spotlight on rescue horses and ponies. If you own a rescue horse or pony, there is a range of classes including in-hand, lead-rein and ridden. Last year’s championship winner was Gizmo, who was rescued after being discovered in a near-death state

8. Your dog can even get involved in the horse and hound fun pairs class. This is where horse and rider jump a course of fences against the clock before changing over to a dog and its handler who then have to complete a small agility course

9. Even if you are not a member of a breed society you can compete at the show in some of these brilliant classes:

Ridden Concours d’Elegance

Ridden astride this class is all about tip-top turnout and jaw-dropping costumes. Colours a go-go and large-skirted dresses seem to be preferable here

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Best Thelwell

This class does what it says on the tin. If you have a short-legged pony who looks like something from a childhood cartoon, then this class is just what you’re looking for

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Youth handler

If you are under 18-years-old and have a penchant for showing in-hand then this class (split into age groups) is what you’re looking for.

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Best mover

Do you think your horse or pony has the best trot in the world? If so, you need to get involved with this class.

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Thoroughbred racehorse

If you have an ex-racehorse who loves the attention of the show ring then this class is just for him.

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Mountain & moorland

Large, small, first-ridden, lead-rein? The list goes on. There is something for all M&Ms here.

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Coloured, cob, hunter, hack?

There is a class for every shape and size

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10. The best bit? If you’re a winner you will make it to the glitzy evening performance, competing for a championship and for the chance to achieve your dream of riding under a spotlight on your lap of honour.

11. And when you’re tired of riding, there’s the small matter of a whopping 100 trade stands to feast your eyes on. Don’t forget your purse!

Enter your favourite classes today with Equo