Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the London International Horse Show at Olympia. With top class show jumping and dressage supported by plenty of festive fun, it’s an ideal way to get into the Christmas mood and shake off any “bah humbug” tendencies.
There is £262,500 in prize-money up for grabs in this year’s show jumping classes, and a car on offer for the Mitsubishi ride and drive champion, so competition is sure to be fierce between Britain’s best and their international rivals. The highlights include the H&M World Cup, the Links of London Grand Prix, the masters and Friday night’s Accenture puissance, which is live on BBC2.
Eight-times World Champion Anky van Grunsven may not be competing at Olympia this year, being six months pregnant, but she will be providing an insight into what it takes to be queen of the kür. Imke Schellekens-Batels will be doing a masterclass, while new British talent will be pitching themselves against some of the best in the business, including World Games gold medalist Isabell Werth in the World Cup qualifier, supported by Horse & Hound. Spectators can enjoy commentary on all the action from Carl Hester with Olympia FM through special headsets that can be bought at the show.
A host of medallists will be on display during the evening performance on Thursday, 14 December. This has been a tremendous year for British equestrian sport in every discipline, with a medal haul of 20 gold, 13 silver and 17 bronze, plus eight individual titles. Every medallist has been invited to the show and if they all attend, there will be 41 champions in Olympia’s arena.
The ever-popular Shetland Pony Grand National is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It has raised more than £300,000 for charity with Great Ormond Street Hospital the current beneficiary.
Other highlights of this year’s show include a 16-strong team of stallions from the Hanoverian State Stud performing a quadrille; an Only Fools On Horses Christmas special ride and drive class; dog agility for canines of every size and shape; British Riding Clubs/SEIB Quadrille Championships; the Metropolitan Police Activity Ride; and the Veteran Horse Society Championship.
Visit Horse & Hound
While enjoying the delights of the Olympia shopping village and picking up those last minute presents, don’t forget to stop off at the Horse & Hound stand (GH4) for your chance to win fabulous prizes and take advantage of special Christmas subscription offers. Among the prizes up for grabs is a Bates Momentum Saddle and £1,000 of gear from Harry Hall and Masta. Not to be missed subscription offers include 50% off H&H subscriptions, with great offers on HORSE and Eventing magazines. And if you can’t make it to Olympia this year, check out www.horseandhound.co.uk for all the latest news and reports from the show.
Tickets cost £15 for any seat on Tuesday, while prices vary between £19-£45 for every other performance. Some performances are already sold out, so check with the box office (tel: 0870 143 2202) or visit: www.olympiahorseshow.com