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Spotlight on the Royal International

Tomorrow sees the 2003 Royal International Horse Showat the famous All England Jumping Course at Hickstead get underway and what a show it promises to be!

A huge variety of disciplines are on offer at the British Horse Society’s flagship event, which boasts six packed rings of top class action during the next five days (23-27 July).

Visitors can look forward to seeing top show jumpers do battle in the International Arena, while the national show jumping championships will be hard fought at every level from juniors on 128cm ponies upwards.

Highlights of the international show jumping action will include Thursday’s grand prix and Friday’s all-important nations cup as well as the Hassroeder’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup and Longines King George V Gold Cup on Sunday.

The crowd-pleasing Eventing Grand Prix on Saturday will see event riders, including double European eventing champion and two-time Badminton winner Pippa Funnell, competing against top showjumpers, including Michael and Robert Whitaker, in this dual-sport challenge.

The eventers have proved all conquering so far and will undoubtedly be feeling confident, but,with Michael having come close so many times, maybe this will be the year we finally see a showjumper triumph.

Showing’s elite professionals and successful amateurs alike will contest a wide range of classes from lead rein ponies to heavyweight hunters before going forward to the prestigious RIHS supreme titles on Sunday.

The RIHS offers entertainment for the whole family, with the exciting Osborne Refrigerators Double Harness Scurry Championship just one of the many classes which will appeal to visitors of all ages.

First-class shopping is also on offer at the 150-plus stands in the Shopping Village. While browsing be sure to visit the Horse & Hound stand (no 70), which also incorporates Horse & Hound Online plus HORSE and Eventing magazines, for the chance to win up to £1,000 worth of Harry Hall clothing in a free-to-enter prize draw. Special subscription discounts will also be on offer.

For the full timetable, click here.

Getting to Hickstead

By road: Hickstead is situated on the A23, 10 miles north of Brighton and 15 miles south of Gatwick Airport.

By rail: The nearest railway stations are Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and Hassocks. Taxis operate from all stations. For National Rail Enquiries (tel: 08457 484950).

By coach: Coaches are available from London, Brighton, Gatwick and Crawley. The National Express Coach runs daily from London’s Victoria Coach Station, (tel: 020 7730 3499).

Tickets are available on the entrance and cost from £10 per adult or from £25 for a family of four plus £5 per car.

For more information at the RIHS visit: www.hickstead.co.uk

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