Britain’s newest equestrian exhibition got off to a flying start on Thursday (20 April), with large crowds gathering at East London’s Excel venue.

The event combined demonstrationsof a wide range of disciplines and techniques with trade stands shopping and lectures on issues such as equine physiotherapy, and was aimed at offering horse enthusiasts from the South-East an easily accessible day out.

Visitors from further afieldwho could normally fulfil their shopping and spectating urges at Badminton and the county shows swelled the numbers, but organisers Sarah Cartwright and Justine Tatham insist that they were prepared for a large attendance.

“We originally planned tocater mostly for visitors from the South-East, but we had pre-bookings from as far afield as Scotland and the continent,” said Justine.

Demonstrations over the three days cover some lesser known disciplines such as Working Equitation and HorseBall,while more conventional highlights include Lucinda Green demonstrating Safer Cross- Country Riding and John and Louise Whitaker being coached to play polo by Ascot Park Polo Club.

“The idea was to cover as wide a spectrum as possible, rather than playing safe with the established disciplines” explained Sarah Cartwright.

A smaller arena hosts lecture demonstrations on subjects such as saddle fitting by the Society of Master Saddlers and worming by dressage rider/trainer Mark Ruddock, together with alternative treatment such as energy healing and the use of Ayurvedic herbs.

On Saturday and Sunday extra attractions will include Tanya Larrigan’s Mini Marvels (miniature horses) performing Riverdance and the King’s Troop single gun team (Sunday only).

Next year’s event, which will be timed to coincide with the Easter holidays once again, promises to be larger, and the organisers say that from the number of enquiries received already will feature a greater number of trade stands.

Advanced tickets are available via the ticket hotline (tel: 0870 739 6500) at £8 adult, £4 child and £20 family tickets. For further information visit www.equusevent.co.uk