Organisers of the Liverpool International Horse Show say they are more determined than ever to run a top-class event after the “heartbreak” of last year’s devastating fire.
Some 1,400 cars were destroyed and the final session of the 2017 show cancelled when the car park next to the Echo Arena caught fire on New Year’s Eve.
Show president Nina Barbour said the financial implications meant she and her team had to think “long and hard about the future of our show”.
“But with help from the arena, together with the tremendous support we’ve had from our spectators, the equestrian community and everyone involved from the city of Liverpool, we have been able to regroup and go ahead,” she said.
Ms Barbour added that cancelling the final session was “absolutely devastating” for organisers and supporters, many of whom “suffered a great deal of heartbreak” as they lost cars and possessions.
“We were so grateful for the tremendous work by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service,” she added. “The professionalism of our team and the staff at the arena meant our emergency plan was put into operation and everyone, including all 150 horses stabled on the ground floor of the car park, were safely evacuated.
“Everyone has worked so hard to establish the show and we are determined, now more than ever, that it will be one of the world’s premier equestrian events. We are looking forward to being back in Liverpool and we’re planning to make 2018 the best show yet especially as we are the climax to Liverpool 2018.
“As the show was sadly cut short before the climax of the competition, Billy Twomey remains the only rider to have won the Liverpool International grand prix and we look forward to welcoming him back to the Echo Arena this year.”
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said that having worked with organisers to ensure the show stayed in Liverpool, he was “delighted that Nina and the team have kept faith with the city”.
The final performance of the show has been cancelled due to the major fire
The rider praised organisers and emergency services for their response to the major fire
In the week that is historically the week of the Liverpool International Horse Show, we take a trip down memory
London 2012 Olympic team gold medallist Peter Charles, who was born in Liverpool and was on hand to launch the 2018 show this week, praised the support shown by the equestrian world.
He added: “We’re hoping Britain’s brilliant community of equestrian people will be with us to show that as every horse fan knows, when you have a setback, you dust yourself down and get back in the saddle.”
The show, featuring elite showjumping and dressage, as well as the Shetland Pony Grand National, displays and additional acts, runs from 28 to 31 December 2018.
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In this week’s magazine, out on Thursday 19 April 2018, don’t miss our special report from the British Dressage Winter Championships, plus full analysis from the Grand National — including expert comment, pictures and more. Read our report from the dressage and showjumping World Cup finals, and in this week’s ‘vet clinic’ we discuss the facts about fitness.