Mandatory face masks and more than 40 hand sanitising stations are on the cards as showjumping returns to Hickstead this week for its first show of 2020.
The Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships (2-6 September) opens the iconic venue’s competitive calendar, following the cancellation of both the Hickstead Derby meeting and Royal International this summer.
Entries sold out within 24 hours and the All England Jumping Ground has a host of measures in place to keep everyone safe.
No members of the public can attend, and only one rider, owner and groom is allowed per horse.
Face coverings will be mandatory for all course walks and in the collecting rings, and more than 40 hand sanitising stations have been installed.
“We were expecting quite a bit of interest when we opened entries, but the response took us by surprise,” said Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn.
“We’re sorry to disappoint any riders who have been desperate to get out competing this season [and who didn’t manage to get a Hickstead entry], but we are delighted to even be able to run this event after the cancellation of our international shows.
“We are especially pleased to be able to run some classes that were due to be run at the Longines Royal International Horse Show, including the British Showjumping pony winter finals.
“Equally, for those who are keen to watch some live sport and who can’t attend because of current restrictions, the action will be livestreamed from the Longines International Arena every day on Hickstead.tv and Clipmyhorse.tv”
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Classes run from grassroots to the 1.40m grand prix, won in 2019 by Harriet Biddick (nee Nuttall).
Leading British names on the 2020 entries list include Guy Williams, Holly Smith, Joe Clayton, William Funnell, John Whitaker and Robert Whitaker.
Irish entrants include brothers Shane and Trevor Breen, as well as Michael Duffy and David Simpson.
Olympic event riders Pippa Funnell, Gemma Tattersall and Christopher Burton are among those switching disciplines for the week.
The show also hosts young horse championship classes, arena eventing and the under-10s mini challenge.
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