Equestrian fans should make a note in their diaries to ensure they won’t miss next summer’s events. Several competitions are switching dates to avoid clashing with the 2012 London Olympics. And some anticipate improved international entries on the back of them.
Hickstead’s Royal International Horse Show will run a week earlier than usual (18-22 July).
Organiser Lizzie Bunn told H&H: “We don’t expect to get the Olympic horses, but you never know — some thrive on competition while others perform better fresh. But we do expect some of the top [overseas] riders to bring over a couple of horses [besides their Olympic rides] — and there are a lot of strong countries out there.”
The new date means the Royal International will take place not long after Hickstead’s showpiece Derby meeting.
“With only three weeks in between shows it will be a challenge, but it’s a one-off,” added Lizzie.
Gatcombe’s Festival of British Eventing is scheduled three weeks earlier than usual next year (13-15 July).
Event director Tim Henson said: “We have worked to ensure the best possible date to enable as many riders as possible to participate.”
Hartpury Festival of Dressage will move forward one week (4-8 July). The event’s Janet Plant told H&H that the change was designed to fit the competition calendar better, not as a reaction to the Olympics.
“Our horse trials will remain on their usual weekend (9-12 August) and we are expecting more riders to be in England, so entries should be more cosmopolitan,” she said.
And Barbury International Horse Trials will also run a week earlier (28 June – 1 July ) after an appeal by GB eventing team chef d’equipe Yogi Breisner to provide horses with a clear four weeks before the start of the Olympics, said Nigel Bunter of Barbury Castle Estates.
This news story was first run on Horse & Hound (21 July, 2011)