9 (possibly strange) things we’ll miss about HOYS week

  • In May, Grandstand Media announced that it’s annual Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) would not go ahead due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

    While the cancellation was inevitable in these strange times, we can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness as our horses and ponies won’t be making their annual trip to the NEC. All we can say, is roll on 2021.

    Here are nine things we might strangely miss about HOYS week:

    1. The pre-HOYS prep

    If you’re competing, the run up to HOYS is aguably one of the most stressful times of the year. When should I clip? How many training sessions do I need to schedule before I go? When do the entries close? Have I booked a hotel or am I staying in the lorry? The questions go on, and if anyone had the exact answers to them all, they’d be a millionaire.

    2. The city experience

    A horse show in a car park in the middle of Birmingham. While most of our summer shows are held on glorious county showfields or well-equipped equestrian centres, it can feel very surreal to be trekking off to the heart of a city with our horses in tow. Navigating a lorry through the busy roads can feel like a nightmare, but once you’re in, the NEC has been transformed into an equestrian haven. We become savvy city-goers for one week a year.

    3. The late night and early morning working in slots

    Much like the bitter-sweet buzz you get when travelling to the airport in the middle of the night before a holiday, the sometimes ungodly working in times make HOYS all the more exhilarating, especially if you’re a first-time contender. Though we do feel for those riders and producers with a lorry load of steeds to warm up in a very short space of time. It’s the ultimate juggling act.

    4. The famous lap of honour music

    The music synonymous with the HOYS victory lap is usually playing over and over in our heads until Christmas.

    5. The shopping

    With all of our best-loved brands for both horses and humans in one place, HOYS is a mecca for equestrian shoppers. Looks like we’ll have to resort to some online shopping to treat our horse to that essential new headcollar he needed.

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    6. The rider spotting

    One of the best things about HOYS is the famous faces you see both inside and outside of the ring. You could catch you favourite showjumper stood next to you in the line for coffee, or see that legendary show rider you idolise enjoying some down time in the retail village. It’s not every day you get to rub shoulders with the best pilots in the game.

    7. The stables

    All of the talent needs somewhere to rest their heads after a long day competing. HOYS is the only show where your own four-legged friend could be stabled next to an international superstar. The créme de la créme of horses and ponies, from Pony Club games stars, to supreme champion show animals, all congregated in one place. What could be better?

    8. The long walk to the rings

    You can guarantee that your step count will soar during HOYS week and your FitBit numbers will be the highest they’ve been all year. Just pray your jockey doesn’t leave their cane or number back at the lorry…

    9. The HOYS diet

    Coffee, celebratory or commiseratory prosecco and an obligatory toastie. The picture of health.

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade to access our H&H Plus online service which brings you breaking news as it happens as well as other benefits.

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