‘The aim is to be inclusive’: new showing series with final at London International

  • The organisers of The London International Horse Show have announced a series of new showing classes at London International which are set to run in 2023.

    The news was announced at the annual conference of the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO) (4-6 November).

    The organisers have worked with the British Show Pony Society (BSPS), the British Show Horse Association (BSHA) and ASAO to create a joint series that consists of 23 different classes held at ASAO member shows including BSHA Rising Star classes for hunters, hacks, cobs, riding horses and show horses, and BSPS classes for performance ponies including coloured ponies, mountain and moorland (M&M) lead rein, working sports ponies, and cradle and nursery stakes working hunter pony classes.

    The aim of the new series is to be inclusive with a focus on the amateur competitor, encouraging them to compete at their local agricultural and county shows. Entrants do not have to be association or society members to compete in the qualifying classes but would have to join the relevant association or society if they reach the final.

    Simon Brooks-Ward, event director for London International Horse Show said: “It has been a long-held ambition to add more showing to London International Horse Show and we are very excited to be launching this series. The space that the ExCeL London venue offers means we are able to put a new arena alongside our existing arena, which allows us to accommodate this series. We are delighted to be working with the ASAO, BSHA and BSPS, as many will know, the BSPS already successfully hold the ridden M&M championships at the London show.”

    It is expected that this open invitation will encourage many more competitors to “have a go” at their local shows.

    The BSHA Rising Stars classes are performance-led with all participants completing a timed freestyle show on the day. The classes are open to amateur BSHA members and non-members.

    The BSPS classes are not restricted to amateurs but the majority of the classes are performance classes. For example, the lead-rein class will have obstacles and small jumps.

    As well as making the classes more inclusive, the ambition is to make them more interesting and informative for the public. Commentators will be encouraged to explain the classes to spectators, describing what is required of the competitors and what the public should be looking out for. The intention is to engender a higher level of interest in showing.

    Agricultural and county show organisers have until early January 2023 to apply to run classes. Classes will be held throughout the week of the London International.

    Paul Cook of BSPS said: “We are convinced that there is going to be a great appetite for these classes. We are determined to introduce a new style of showing which is much more inclusive for the competitor and educational and entertaining for the audience. Having the M&M championships already at London means that we know that this venue will work brilliantly for this new series, and it will give a great day out for the competitors and their families who reach the final.”

    Nigel Hollings of BSHA added: “We are very excited by the new Rising Stars series and the finals taking place at The London International Horse Show. We know this will be very well received by our existing members and the wider showing community, with the series very much focusing on making competing easy and educational, encouraging more to join in and have a go.”

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