Top riders gear up for Hickstead’s Royal International Horse Show

  • Top showjumpers, medal-winning event riders, and leading showing producers are among the entries for the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) at Hickstead (21-25 July).

    The two-star international showjumping classes will welcome Michael, Robert and James Whitaker, Shane and Trevor Breen, Will Fletcher and former national champion Harriet Biddick, as well as event riders Pippa Funnell and Gemma Tattersall.

    The show usually incorporates five-star international showjumping classes, including the Nations Cup and King George V Gold Cup, but it was announced in April that this year’s show would run in a reduced format owing to the “cost implications of staging a five-star event under restricted conditions”. Last month the All Shira’aa Jumping Championships took place at Hickstead (23-27 June) in place of the Derby meeting. The championships’ feature class, the £15,000 Al Shira’aa Trophy, was won by Guy Williams on Rouge De Ravel. Hickstead will also host the All England September tour from 1-5, and 8-12 September.

    This year’s RIHS will host a series of CSI2* “one-off” classes including the £6,000 Royal International Vase. The event draws to a close with the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, a class first held in 1949.

    “It is usually a prestigious national championship, open only to the highest-ranked riders in British Showjumping (BS), but this year [the trophy] will be awarded to the winner of the grand prix,” said an RIHS spokesman.

    “Last year’s winner, David Simpson, will be a notable absentee having been called up on Nations Cup duties abroad, but several other recent winners are likely to factor in proceedings, including the Breen brothers, Harriet Biddick – who has returned to top level competition following the birth of her first baby Archie earlier this year – and James Whitaker.”

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    Other showjumping highlights include the RIHS young horse championships for five-, six- and seven-year-olds, plus the BS winter finals.

    “As well as being one of the oldest horse shows in the world, the Royal International is also one of the largest – with more than 3,000 horses and ponies of all shapes and sizes taking part across seven rings of competition,” said the spokesman.

    Top producers such as Jayne Ross, Katie Jerram-Hunnable, Jo Bates, Robert Walker and Allister and Oliver Hood are among those expected to pick up showing titles at the event.

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