‘Showing is coming home’: excitement grows over new series with final at London International

  • A new series aiming to bring showing to a wider audience has received a “fantastic” response from show organisers – with a significant number requesting to hold qualifiers.

    As reported by H&H in November, London International Horse Show (LIHS) organisers have worked with the British Show Pony Society (BSPS), the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) and the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO) to create the series, which will comprise classes for “everything from hacks and cobs, to cradle stakes and coloured ponies”.

    Qualifiers will take place at county and agricultural shows, with a full list of hosts to be released mid-February. The 20 finals will take place at LIHS in December.

    An HPower spokesman said that show organisers have responded “extremely positivity”, with a “significant number” requesting to run classes.

    “Its emphasis is to be inclusive, with a focus on the amateur home-produced competitor, encouraging them to compete at their local agricultural and county show. Entrants for the classes will not have to be an association/society member to compete in the qualifying classes but will have to join the relevant association/society if they reach the final,” said the spokesman.

    “It is expected that this open invitation will encourage many more competitors to ‘have a go’ at their local show. All the BSHA classes are aimed at amateurs, and the BSPS classes are performance classes and not restricted to amateurs. These classes offer an ideal opportunity for ponies and horses competing in other disciplines to gain experience from the excellent educational competitive platform that showing provides.”

    BSHA chair Nigel Hollings described the series as an “exciting development for the showing world”.

    “I am so pleased that we’ve had such a fantastic response from show organisers,” he said.

    “It will be a great experience for finalists to compete at LIHS in December – showing started in the capital with the London International Horse Show at Olympia, holding many classes when it started in 1907, so the circle is now complete with showing coming home.”

    BSPS chair Paul Cook added that the new format will make classes more interesting for people to watch.

    “Commentators will be encouraged to be much more informative for the watching public, describing what is required of the competitor and what the public should be looking out for,” he said.

    Paul Hooper, ASAO secretary and president of the Mid Somerset Show, said showing is an “intrinsic part” of ASAO member shows.

    “We look forward to working with LIHS this year to expand this fantastic new series across the UK. We hope all competitors enjoy competing at our member shows throughout the summer and wish them all the very best of luck at reaching the finals of all the equine competitions on offer,” he said.

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