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Thumbs up for new-look HOYS

Early ticket sales suggest that the Horse of the Year Show’s move to the NEC is popular with spectators

The Horse of the Year Show’s move to Birmingham has received an overwhelming “thumbs up” from spectators. At the beginning of September ticket sales were up by 38% on last year, suggesting that the more central location is appealing to the equestrian community.

Major horse shows have been held at the giant National Exhibition Centre complex before – the Royal International Horse Show moved there in the 1980s, but due to the timing of HOYS and the need to observe increasingly stringent Health and Safety rules, this will be a very different event.

All-weather surfaces supplier Equestrian Surfaces has come on board as title sponsor and will provide the footing for three arenas: the 68x35m International Arena, which hosts all the major championships and show jumping, the 55x30m Horse & Hound arena, used for preliminary judging and other championships, and an all-new, dedicated 50x25m exercise area.

The provision of the outdoor exercise arena, adjacent to the stables, will doubtless be welcomed by competitors, who previously had to use designated “slots” in the main rings, often at the crack of dawn.

The International Arena is 7.5m wider than its predecessor at Wembley, offering more space for the well-filled showing finals and creating new opportunities for course-builders.

Competitors in the Horse & Hound arena will also find themselves with more space – due to the way the NEC’s buildings are constructed, there are no pillars in this ring, unlike at Wembley.

The layout of the show also means that spectators can spend more time watching their favourite events and shopping as the tradestand area is immediately adjacent to the International Arena.

For visitors attending the daytime sessions, there is an extra bonus- with the International Arena collecting ring in the same building as the H&H arena, visitors can watch the riders warming up.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (12 September), orclick here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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