The King to follow in his mother’s footsteps as Royal Windsor unveils new plans

  • Royal Windsor Horse Show is intending to offer financial assistance to competitors, as part of major new plans to enhance the show in 2024 and beyond.

    Show director Simon Brooks-Ward shares the news at a media briefing at the London International Horse Show on Thursday (14 December).

    The King has been named as patron of the show – continuing the tradition held by his mother, The late Queen, and grandfather, King George VI.

    Watch Simon Brooks-Ward talk about new plans for Royal Windsor Horse Show

    “We are a small jewel and we want to place emphasis on quality rather than quantity,” said Mr Brooks-Ward.

    “We’re not going to go for just hundreds and thousands of trade stands or ponies; we’re going to be very select.

    “We want world-class competitive facilities and we have to create educative and entertaining visitor experiences.”

    In real terms, that means a focus on sustainability in both the sport and visitor sides of the show. It will be seen through investment in footing, a Hermès riders’ lounge, a push towards increased use of technology, and a new champions’ avenue to celebrate horses and riders. It will also involve increased crossover and collaboration with other Crown-connected areas, for example, enlisting the help of the head gardener at Windsor Castle on flowers, food from the farm shop, royal collection china in hospitality, plus live hubs showcasing the arts, heritage skills and more.

    One or two showing classes will be cut for 2024, but Mr Brooks-Ward stressed that the cuts are not related to the new plans.

    “We are also going to give athletes financial assistance because one of the big problems we’re going to face going forward are the Brexit rules. It’s not just about entering your horses and going into the UK. From next year, you will have to be vetted on the way out.”

    He added that other than lobbying, crediting minister Richard Benyon and British Equestrian chief executive Jim Eyre as among those doing a “great job” on that front, “the only thing we can do is to provide financial assistance as much as we possibly can.”

    “Otherwise we will not be the international event that we need to be,” he said.

    “There are so many other things that are going on, we’ve looked at every single area of the horse show, every single area, and the team have been working really hard for it.

    “We need to keep pushing our industry on and pushing the envelope to keep relevant.”

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