Ticket sales for Royal Windsor and Olympia, the London International Horse Show have been “beyond the wildest expectations” of organisers, indicating that the equestrian public are “craving” the resumption of public events.
Capacity at Royal Windsor (1-4 July) has been restricted to around 3,500 per day under Government rules and the event is now almost sold out, with some tickets remaining for the Thursday and Friday.
Sales for Olympia (16-20 December) opened this week (19 May) for priority bookers, and have been the strongest for five years despite the change in venue.
Redevelopment works around the historic hall at Olympia have forced the show to move away from its home of 49 years to the larger and more modern ExCel in South London this year.
The shows’ director Simon Brooks-Ward told H&H that the trend “demonstrated just how resilient the horse world is to any disaster”, and how much the public wanted to support events.
“I think what we are seeing is that people are crying out for equestrian events and the more we can put on in the next few months, the better,” he said.
Simon added that organiser HPower was “thrilled but not complacent” at the response, as they are aware the situation with Covid could change at any time.
“We’re hoping we can release some more tickets for Royal Windsor, depending on what the Government plans are. It’s looking more positive than it was,” he said.
Royal Windsor will be the first public international equine event to take place in the UK in the last 18 months and has blazed the trail for how major shows can resume under the current restrictions.
“Windsor is the first off the block and it’s not been easy but we’ve ploughed on. People have such a will for it to happen,” Simon said.
“Organisers, sponsors, exhibitors, trade stand holders and other stakeholders had a degree of nervousness about what it would look like when everything started to reopen but now I think people wanting to run events of a reasonable size can have confidence that people are ready to buy into it.”
He added that there had been a concern that people might be more reluctant to attend indoor events, such as Olympia, but that they had “voted with their credit cards” for a return to normality.
“We’re absolutely committed to making this work. The team is really excited about what we can do there”
“I think we know we have a vaccine and a test and trace system,” he said. “If Olympia had to move then this was probably the year to do it as ExCel has so much more room to expand and put people into a safe environment.”
Royal Windsor will not run its evening pageant this year but will still feature a full schedule of competition, including the five-star Rolex showjumping grand prix, The Land Rover international driving grand prix, international endurance and national showing classes.
Ticket sales for The London International Horse Show were on sale to priority bookers (those who bought tickets for the 2019 event) until today (21 May) when they go on general release.
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