The 70th annual Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) will kick off next Wednesday (3 October), and as ever, it promises to be another exhilarating year of top class competition, stunning displays and tantalising shopping.
Make sure you have your programmes at the ready to circle these unmissable features:
1. Dressage masterclass with Carl Hester
When is it? Thursday 4 October
What to expect: Last year it was Charlotte Dujardin and now you can learn some of the secrets from the man who mentored her on the way to global dressage domination. See Carl Hester put riders through their paces while sharing some top training tips and timely schooling advice.
2. Cuddy supreme in-hand championship
When is it? Friday 5 October
What to expect: The Cuddy is the ultimate in-hand title a show horse can win and the supreme champion will certainly become a legend after scooping the coveted crown. With a new Friday slot, make sure you see the winning pony and horse take to the international arena under the lights and witness who will have that centre line moment.
3. GB Vaulters “Show Time”
When is it? Throughout the week
What to expect: Prepare to be mesmerised by the awe-inspiring performances from the GB vaulting team, which is being hosted throughout HOYS week in the international arena. Disclaimer: don’t try this at home.
4. Trade stands
When are they open?
What to expect: We hope, for your sake, that pay day comes before your HOYS visit. With 250 trade stands with all sorts of wonderful luxuries and necessities for both horse and rider, the retail village is a place to spend a few hours. Make sure you come and visit the Horse & Hound stand for great subscription offers and much more. Top tip: Sunday shoppers should take advantage of the Sunday saver offer where you can use the discount vouchers found in the programme to save pounds on some fantastic buys.
5. Musical Drive of the Heavy Horses
When is it? Each day, but also in the Saturday and Sunday evening performances
What to expect: The musical drive performance has been a part of HOYS for many years. From the 1950s up until 1999, they performed every year at Wembley Arena and are welcomed back for the 70th anniversary show. This year, six pairs of Shires and Clydesdales under the command of HOYS official John Peacock, are set to fascinate the audience each day of the show, and will also be performing in the evening performances on Saturday and Sunday.
6. Meet the horses
What to expect: In the retail village you can get up close and personal with a variety of gorgeous steeds of a range of different types and breeds. Find out about their history and speak to some of the societies responsible for safeguarding and promoting these wonderful horses and ponies.
When is it? Saturday 6 October, evening performance
What to expect: We can promise that the puissance competition will once again be a nail-biting watch you won’t want to miss. Watch top combinations challenge themselves over the famous big red wall and see if they can top last year’s winners, Padraic Judge and Citi Business’s impressive 2.14 metres.
8. Supreme pony/horse of the year championships
When is it? Sunday 7 October, evening performance
What to expect: Showing champions who have been victorious throughout the week will take to the international arena to compete for the separate pony and horse titles. Make sure you’ve caught up with show ring winners crowned throughout the week and see if you can pick out the 2018 HOYS supreme champions. #spinetingling
9. Osborne Refrigerators double harness scurry
When is it? First rounds held on Friday with the overall championship taking place on Saturday in the evening performance.
What to expect: A fast, furious and seriously fun race against the clock around a series of testing obstacles. See the best harness ponies in the country compete for the legendary title. Scream if you want them to go faster!
For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday