Royal Windsor Horse Show (RWHS) is implementing a raft of changes for 2014 — including free admission on Wednesday, 2 new 3-star dressage classes and a return to evening sessions.
Visitors will be able to attend the show free with the introduction of “Windsor Wednesday” on 14 May.
Organisers hope free entry will encourage a new audience.
This year RWHS also introduces new international 3-star showjumping and dressage classes, with prize-money boosted to £250,000 — up from £87,000 from last year. It will be the only UK event to host international competition in 4 disciplines— jumping, driving, endurance and dressage.
“The only way for Windsor to go was to take it up a notch by introducing international competitions,” said organiser Simon Brooks-Ward.
“We expect to attract some top international riders. This year we are 3-star, but we would like to maintain the growing success and achieve 5-star status one day.”
Ticket prices — from £16 on Thursday to £25 on Saturday/Sunday — are slightly up from last year but are to include evening sessions this year.
The last international dressage competition held at Windsor was the European Championships in 2009. This year a CDI3* FEI dressage grand prix and CDI3* FEI freestyle will be included in the royal show.
15 competitors will be invited to take part — 5 from the UK and 10 from abroad.
Richard Davison told H&H it was “exciting news” for dressage in Britain.
“The facilities are fantastic, so it’s a great showcase for the sport and a good experience for up-and-coming horses and riders,” he said. “Obviously it will take time to grow on the international calendar, but the more 3-stars we have in the country the better.”
On Wednesday, there will be an advanced medium freestyle dressage championship, places for which are determined at the winter championships at Hartpury.
Organisers hope to attract top showjumpers too, with the CSI3* King’s Cup — worth £53,000 — on Saturday and CSI3* Alltech grand prix for the Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy, worth £35,000, on Sunday.
The news of Bahrain’s support comes the same week that a Bahraini endurance rider was fined for abusing his horse in the final stages of a race recently run in that country.
➤ Visit: www.rwhs.co.uk
This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (20 February 2014)