Horse & Hound’s guide to Britain’s best shows *H&H Plus*

  • From championship showing qualifiers to the most challenging five-star horse trials in the world, in this year’s show guide magazine (on sale Thursday 27 February) we bring you Britain’s exciting array of events you won’t want to miss this season — as a rider or spectator

    Choose a region: Wales | Scotland | North England | Midlands | South-west England | South-east England

    Horse events in Wales

    Chepstow International
    Chepstow Racecourse, Monmouthshire, 27-28 June
    What’s on: British Eventing classes including the Welsh National Championships and Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifier.
    What we love most: a great day out packed with British Eventing (BE) affiliated eventing action in the stunning parkland of Piercefield Park at Chepstow Racecourse.Monmouthshire Show
    Monmouthshire Showground, Monmouthshire, 4 July
    What’s on: for showing enthusiasts, there are 19 HOYS qualifiers, alongside showjumping classes, scurry driving and an inter-hunt relay.
    What we love most: witnessing an eclectic mix of horses, cattle, sheep and dogs battle it out for top honours in the wonderful Wye Valley.

    Royal Welsh Show
    Royal Welsh Showground, Powys, 20-23 July
    What’s on: since its formation in 1904, the Royal Welsh Show has become the pinnacle of the Welsh agricultural calendar, boasting a variety of showing and driving classes as well as top-class attractions and displays.
    What we love most: being part of the best that Wales has to offer at the foot of the stunning Welsh hills.

    Vale of Glamorgan Agricultural Show
    Fonmon Castle, Vale of Glamorgan, 12 August
    What’s on: alongside over 200 tradestands and a variety of attractions and displays, the show features showing classes, showjumping and a hunt scurry.
    What we love most: a great day out for all the family at Fonmon Castle in the heart of the Vale of Glamorgan.

    Chepstow Summer International Horse Show
    David Broome Event Centre, Monmouthshire, 28-31 August
    What’s on: a four-day showjumping show with tours at CSI2*, CSI*, CSIYH* and CSIP, as well as a variety of national classes from British novice to Foxhunter.
    What we love most: a super array of showjumping classes including internationals at a first-class venue.

    Horse events in Scotland

    Coral Scottish Grand National Festival
    Ayr Racecourse, Ayr, 17-18 April
    What’s on: the biggest and richest jump meeting in Scotland, featuring 15 exciting races.
    What we love most: don’t miss Ladies’ Day on the Friday, while the pinnacle of jump racing in Scotland, the Coral Scottish Grand National, is held on the Saturday.

    Royal Highland
    Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, 18-21 June
    What’s on: a large number of showing classes including Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers as well as top British Showjumping (BS) classes offering generous cash prizes.
    What we love most: its famous blue sashes but also the superb social scene and shopping.

    The Scottish Horse Show
    Royal Highland Showground, Edinburgh, 8 July
    What’s on: competitors from all over the UK come to compete in nearly 100 classes from working hunter to first ridden, with many HOYS qualifiers to boot.
    What we love most: this show is a qualifier for the two-day Caledonian Showing Championships, held in October.

    British Showjumping Cabin EC Sunshine Tour
    The Cabin Equestrian Centre, Aberdeenshire, 14-19 July
    What’s on: five days of jumping including Scottish Champions Tour qualifiers, Scottish branch north-east championship, National Team qualifier alongside Graham Heath and Scope qualifiers.
    What we love most: the great variety of classes and qualifiers that attract the crème de la crème of British showjumping.

    British Dressage Cabin EC Summer regionals and Area Festivals
    The Cabin Equestrian Centre, Aberdeenshire, 31 July-2 August
    What’s on: this Scottish festival of dressage boasts both British Dressage (BD) summer regionals and Area Festival classes.
    What we love most: a celebration of dressage at one of Scotland’s largest equestrian centres in the north-east.

    Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials and Country Fair
    Blair Castle, Perthshire, 27-30 August
    What’s on: Scotland’s premier equestrian event features international classes including CCI2*-L, CCI3*- L, CCI4*-L and CCI4*-S.
    What we love most: alongside top-class eventing, the country fair showcases all sorts of countryside pursuits, set in one of Scotland’s best-known Highland estates.

    Edinburgh Riding of the Marches
    Edinburgh, 13 September
    What’s on: taking its roots from the historical Common Ridings of Scotland, 300 horses traverse the ancient Royal Mile in a re-enactment of the return of the Captain of the Trained Band to Edinburgh with the tragic news of defeat at the Battle of Flodden, 1513.
    What we love most: a morning of high-energy gallops through some of Edinburgh’s stunning countryside followed by a parade through the city with crowds in excess of 20,000.

    Horse events in north England

    Randox Health Grand National Festival
    Aintree Racecourse, Merseyside, 2-4 April
    What’s on: three thrilling days of racing action, including Liverpool’s Day and Ladies’ Day, and culminating in the meeting’s feature Grand National Day.
    What we love most: steeped in history, the Grand National is a thrilling display of sheer talent and true determination.

    Northumberland County Show
    Bywell Hall, Northumberland, 25 May
    What’s on: marketed as “the premier event of the north-east”, with the light horse section alone attracting 500 entries. The parkland setting hosts nearly 100 classes, including Olympia qualifiers.
    What we love most: a festival of farming, food, fun and music in the grounds of a beautiful Palladian-style country home.

    Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials
    Bramham Park, West Yorks, 4-7 June
    What’s on: one of the biggest events in Yorkshire, Bramham attracts a top-class international field with its popular Equi-Trek CCI4*-L, Land Rover CCI4*-S and British Horse Feeds under-25 CCI4*-L classes.
    What we love most: Bramham also hosts affiliated and Pony Club showjumping, mounted games, Burghley Young Event Horse and showing classes.

    The Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show
    Bolesworth Castle, Chester, 9-14 June
    What’s on: a thrilling five days of world-class equestrian sport including international dressage and showjumping as well as an eventing grand prix.
    What we love most: a fun fusion of sport, lifestyle and corporate hospitality, set in the beautiful surroundings of Bolesworth Castle.

    North of England Summer Show
    Arena UK, Lincs, 27-28 June
    What’s on: a two-day event hosting showing classes including a variety of championship finals boasting prizes of up to £1,000 and a number of HOYS qualifiers.
    What we love most: the amazing array of championship finals split over two days with horses on one day and ponies on the other, offering the biggest prizes in showing.

    Great Yorkshire Show
    Great Yorkshire Showground, N Yorks, 14-16 July
    What’s on: known as the “North’s leading agricultural event”, this three-day show offers a variety of showing classes, some offering HOYS qualification.
    What we love most: riding in the main or White Rose rings is definitely on the showing bucket list — getting a galloping shot along the grandstand is a must!

    Lemieux National Dressage Championships
    Somerford Park, Cheshire, 24-27 September
    What’s on: based at new venue Somerford Park, this year’s National Dressage Championships are set to be better than ever with championship titles on offer from prelim silver through to grand prix.
    What we love most: as well as a whopping 25 titles on offer, riders get the chance to rub shoulders with the very best horses and riders in British dressage.

    Stars Northern Champion of Champions
    Aintree International Equestrian Centre, Merseyside,
    28 October-1 November
    What’s on: dubbed as the HOYS for home-producers, Stars is open only to riding and Pony Club members who have qualified at relevant shows.
    What we love most: exhibitors gain points for their individual clubs, culminating in an overall champion club, which earns a substantial prize fund. There’s also a southern championship.

    TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show
    M&S Bank Arena, Merseyside, 31 December-3 January
    What’s on: celebrate the New Year in style at this equestrian spectacular, boasting a stellar line-up of international dressage, showjumping and an eventing grand prix.
    What we love most: alongside top-class competition, spectators are treated to extraordinary displays and live entertainment with an abundance of champagne.

    Horse events in the Midlands

    Ideal Saddles Combined Training Championships
    Fieldhouse EC, Staffs, 15 March
    What’s on: a mixture of dressage and showjumping, riders who have qualified at one of 19 events across the country battle it out for the championship titles.
    What we love most: with options from prelim to elementary dressage, and 70cm to 100cm jumping, there is something for every grassroots level.

    Skinner’s Pet Foods National Team Chase Championships
    Tur Langton, Leics, 29 March
    What’s on: held at the Fernie team chase, qualified teams battle it out for championship title.
    What we love most: gritting our teeth as determined and exceptionally brave riders race across country over enormous hedges at breakneck speed.

    Blue Chip Winter Championship Finals
    Hartpury College, Glos, 1-5 April
    What’s on: five electrifying days of both championship and non-championship jumping classes, from 85cm pony classes to a 1.40m grand prix.
    What we love most: don’t miss the championship gala evening, which hosts the Blue Chip grand prix and an educational and entertaining masterclass.

    Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials
    Chatsworth, Derbys, 15-17 May
    What’s on: a three-day eventing showcase with classes including novice, CCI2*-S, CCI4*-S and advanced.
    What we love most: the event also features the second leg of the Event Rider Masters Series and Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes.

    Hunter Chase Evening
    Stratford Racecourse, Warks, 29 May
    What’s on: a highlight of the point-to-point season, this evening meeting features hotly contested championship finals.
    What we love most: the excitement of the best point-to-point horses in the country battling it out for highly sought-after season titles.

    The Lycetts Festival of Hunting
    East of England Showground, Cambs, 22 July
    What’s on: this historic and prestigious event is the annual showcase for the world of hunting.
    What we love most: besides a variety of showing classes, there’s also the inter-hunt relay in which teams of riders duel over a mirror-image set of jumps.

    British Showjumping National Championships
    Stoneleigh Park, Warks, 4-9 August
    What’s on: world-class riders competing for the esteemed international stairway league title, as well as coveted opportunities to qualify for HOYS.
    What we love most: running alongside the championships is the popular Stoneleigh Horse Show, which boasts an array of showing classes including HOYS qualifiers.

    The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
    Burghley, Lincs, 2-6 September
    What’s on: one of the world’s best five-star events, boasting five days of eventing action set in the stunning Burghley Park.
    What we love most: if the Cottesmore Leap isn’t for you, there’s also the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes or the final of the BE80(T) championships.

    British Riding Clubs NAF Five Star National Championships
    Lincolnshire Showground, Lincs, 5-6 September
    What’s on: a celebration of British Riding Clubs, this event hosts the championships in both dressage and showjumping as well as direct entry classes that don’t require qualification.
    What we love most: the variety of classes aimed at a wide selection of riding abilities — there are also style jumping classes and riding tests alongside the championship classes.

    Horse of the Year Show
    NEC, Birmingham, 7-11 October
    What’s on: a spectacular showcase of finals to many national showjumping championships as well as hosting the finale to the British showing year.
    What we love most: an event that celebrates everything equestrian, HOYS also boasts international dressage, finals for the
    Pony Club mounted games Prince Philip cup and thrilling displays.

    BSPS Heritage Championships
    Arena UK, Lincs, 17-18 October
    What’s on: a two-day showcase for natives, these championships also offer qualifying classes for Olympia and the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS).
    What we love most: Saturday night’s thrilling evening performance with star-studded ridden championships from working hunter to lead-rein and breed classes.

    Horse events in south-west England

    The Cheltenham Festival
    Cheltenham Racecourse, Glos, 10-13 March
    What’s on: a four-day sporting spectacular, the festival is the most prestigious race meeting in the British National Hunt racing calendar.
    What we love most: the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup is packed full of adrenalin as the country’s best staying chasers battle it out for the ultimate prize in jump racing.

    Wincanton Family Fun Day
    Wincanton Racecourse, Somerset, 19 April
    What’s on: a family-friendly day packed full of jump racing at this beautiful rural racecourse.
    What we love most: there’s a climbing wall, face-painting, bouncy castles and treasure hunts for under-18s (free entry) — plus complimentary Easter eggs.

    Badminton Horse Trials
    Badminton, Glos, 6-10 May
    What’s on: the pinnacle of eventing, if you’re good enough to qualify for the elite CCI5* competition, and for riders showcasing upcoming talent, there are the hotly contested Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes.
    What we love most: seeing the world’s top horses and riders at an iconic and beautiful parkland venue.

    Devon County Show
    Westpoint Showground, Exeter, 21-23 May
    What’s on: top-class showjumping in the main arena, as well as scurry racing, the inter-hunt relay competition and HOYS showing qualifiers.
    What we love most: from magnificent heavy horses to super-cute Shetland ponies, Devon County Show plays host to over 1,000 equines over the three days.

    Golden Horseshoe Ride
    Exford Showground, Somerset, 22-24 May
    What’s on: the UK’s oldest competitive endurance ride, the Golden Horseshoe has become one of the ultimate “bucket-list” endurance rides.
    What we love most: the Golden Horseshoe currently offers broad appeal to riders due to its wide range of classes from 24km to 160km (100 miles).

    Hartpury Festival of Dressage
    Hartpury College, Glos, 1-5 July
    What’s on: this prestigious five-day dressage bonanza hosts a variety of classes from FEI CDI3* and CPEDI3* to Premier League classes, drawing in Olympic, European and world champions.
    What we love most: the inspiring festival gala evening which includes the finals of the Elite Stallions young horse prix st george championship and the NAF Superflex grand prix freestyle.

    Barbury International Horse Trials
    Barbury Castle Estate, Wilts, 2-5 July
    What’s on: in the heart of Wiltshire, this event offers a range of BE novice sections as well as young horse classes and CCI3* and CCI4* classes.
    What we love most: situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, overlooked by an Iron Age hill fort, it’s a wonderful place to compete and spectate.

    Launceston Horse Trials and Country Fair
    St Leonards EC, Cornwall, 19 July
    What’s on: offering the only BE novice course in Cornwall, this event welcomes both professional and amateur riders with classes from BE80(T) to novice level.
    What we love most: an eventing gem in the deepest south-west boasting holiday cottages and a paintballing site — what more could you want?

    New Forest and Hampshire County Show
    The Showground, Hants, 28-30 July
    What’s on: famous for its international showjumping including the international stairway, this three-day show also offers more than 50 HOYS-qualifying showing classes.
    What we love most: from inter-hunt relays and driving to heavy horse ridden HOYS qualifiers, there’s something for everyone at this traditional country show.

    Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing
    Gatcombe Park, Glos, 7-9 August
    What’s on: held at the home of the Princess Royal, the event incorporates the British open, intermediate and novice championships, as well as the Corinthian Cup and Retraining of Racehorses championship.
    What we love most: a weekend of top-class eventing, arena attractions including the Shetland Pony Grand National and entertainment for all the family.

    SsangYong Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials
    Blenheim Palace, Oxon, 17-20 September
    What’s on: this leading three-star horse trials in the grounds of Blenheim Palace attracts some of the world’s best event horses and riders.
    What we love most: the eight/nine-year-old class at CCI4*-S level, showcasing some of the upcoming stars of the sport.

    Ladbrokes Winter Carnival
    Newbury Racecourse, Berks, 27-28 November
    What’s on: enjoy two days of superb racing while kicking off the festive season in style at this party to remember with festive menus, mulled wine and winter cocktails.
    What we love most: the hotly contested feature race of the carnival — the Ladbrokes Trophy — is worth an impressive £350,000.

    Horse events in south-east England

    South Suffolk Show
    Ampton Racecourse, Suffolk, 10 May
    What’s on: a whopping six rings of equine competition including showing with RIHS qualifiers, driving and jumping with national B&C championship qualifiers.
    What we love most: watching the majestic chestnut Suffolk heavy horses classes showcasing the county’s endangered equine gems.

    Royal Windsor
    Windsor Great Park, Berks, 13-17 May
    What’s on: a five-day celebration of international jumping and dressage alongside the Land Rover international driving grand prix, endurance racing and national showing.
    What we love most: competing in front of The Queen against the stunning backdrop of Windsor Castle.

    Cartier Queen’s Cup
    Guards Polo Club, Surrey, 19 May-14 June
    What’s on: celebrating its 60th anniversary, the 22-goal tournament runs over three weeks, providing fast-paced action from the world’s top players and ponies.
    What we love most: watching first-class sport among the heady mix of glitz, horses and champagne, in an idyllic setting.

    Investec Derby Festival
    Epsom Racecourse, Surrey, 5-6 June
    What’s on: a highlight of Flat racing’s summer calendar, the festival offers some of the world’s best over two days including Investec Ladies’ Day on Friday and Investec Derby Day on Saturday.
    What we love most: the carnival atmosphere on the hill or top hat and tails in the Queen’s Stand, while catching the thrill of the feature race, the Investec Derby.

    Royal Ascot
    Ascot Racecourse, Berks, 16-20 June
    What’s on: Britain’s most valuable race meeting, Royal Ascot attracts racing’s finest to compete for more than £8m in prize money, with six races on the card each afternoon.
    What we love most: aside from the glitz and glamour, don’t miss the feature race of the meeting, the Ascot Gold Cup, one of the biggest races in the Flat calendar.

    Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting
    Hickstead, West Sussex, 24-28 June
    What’s on: marking its 60th anniversary, this year’s meeting is set to be the best yet, with a host of international showjumping classes and showing classes including HOYS qualifiers.
    What we love most: the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby, in which riders take on the descent of the 10ft 6in Hickstead Derby Bank — terrifying!

    Kent County
    Kent Showground, 10-12 July
    What’s on: a true country show, with two large dedicated equine rings, Kent County plays host to HOYS qualifiers in both showjumping and showing.
    What we love most: alongside top-class national competition, there’s Pony Club mounted games, scurry driving, heavy horses and an abundance of displays.

    British Driving Society Annual Show
    Windsor Great Park, Berks, 21 July
    What’s on: started in 1965, the traditional summer gathering for private driving enthusiasts takes place across three arenas with classes for a variety of competitors.
    What we love most: the opportunity for competitors to drive through the Royal Park in the concours d’elegance and parade in front of the Royal Box.

    Pyecombe Senior British Showjumping Four-Day Show
    Brendon Stud, Sussex,
    6-9 August
    What’s on: a four-day bonanza for showjumpers from British novice to Foxhunter.
    What we love most: besides all the usual qualifiers, there are Derbies and annual championship classes.

    Longines Global Champions Tour London
    Royal Hospital Chelsea, London, 14-16 August
    What’s on: this tour brings together the top showjumpers in the world to compete in prestigious locations for unprecedented prize money.
    What we love most: the London event is the 14th on the circuit, a key stage in the season when the ranking battle will be at full throttle for a place in Prague Playoffs.

    Royal County of Berkshire
    Newbury Showground, Berks, 19-20 September
    What’s on: classes from the international stairway and Equifest qualifiers to coaching, heavy horses, side-saddle, Olympia qualifiers and scurry driving championships.
    What we love most: perfect for heavy horse enthusiasts, this show holds a grassroots championship qualifier for the British Heavy Horse Grassroots Championship.

    Olympia, The London International Horse Show
    Olympia, London, 15-21 December
    What’s on: the best way to get into the festive spirit in the lead-up to Christmas, Olympia hosts FEI World Cup qualifiers in three disciplines: dressage, showjumping and driving.
    What we love most: the incredible displays from around the world, and the Christmas finale, in which Father Christmas sings Olympia’s traditional carol.

    Ladbrokes Christmas Festival
    Kempton Park, Surrey, 26-27 December
    What’s on: with 12 top quality races over two days between Christmas and the New Year, this mid-season jump racing event is one not to be missed.
    What we love most: the thrilling King George VI on Boxing Day is the feature race of this meeting, drawing incredible talent from the top staying chasers in the land.


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