Equestrian stars from all over the world are travelling to Birmingham for this year’s Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), which gets underway tomorrow (Wednesday 12 October).
Dubbed the “Show of Champions”, HOYS marks the climax of the national show jumping and showing seasons, generating some 150,000 entries at equestrian shows all over the country. While celebrating the crème de la crème of equestrianism, HOYS provides a moving and emotional salute to the horse itself.
The showing championships are set to be as hard fought as ever with the unique HOYS atmosphere expected to throw up a few surprises, as always. The prestigious Cuddy Supreme in-hand championship will have Britain’s top breeders on the edge of their seats, while who will take home the supreme horse and pony titles will be the subject of much discussion throughout the show.
Many of Britain’s top international show jumpers will be competing for a huge array of coveted titles, although some of the world’s elite, including Robert Smith, Michael Whitaker, Nick Skelton and Richard Davenport ,will be missing from the line up due to a clash with other major international shows.
Wild card riders Geoff Billington, Geoff Luckett, Andrew Davies and Robert Bevis, will join the likes of John, Robert and Ellen Whittaker, as well as William Funnell, Tim Stockdale and Robert Maguire, in a host of competitive classes, including the riveting Speed Horse of the Year on Sunday.
The nail-biting Puissance is the star feature of the Saturday evening performance and is guaranteed to have visitors glued to their seats. The highlight of Sunday evening will be the Leading Show Jumper of the Year class, formerly known as the Grand Prix. Those at home will be able to watch the class on Sky Sports.
Displays by the world-famous Jean François Pignon and the Metropolitan Police are sure to provide plenty of entertainment, as will the fast and furious scurry driving and the crowd-pleasing Farmers Guardian Pony Club Mounted Games.
A few steps away from the excitement of the arenas is the extensive shopping village where visitors can indulge in some serious retail therapy. Some two hundred stalls will be offering all the latest equestrian fashions, top quality tack and equipment, jewellery and toys, so have your credit cards at the ready.
While you are visiting the shopping village, don’t forget to drop in at the H&H stand (B3E). You’ll save up to 30% when you take out a subscription and you’ll get a free fleece, too. Similar offers apply to our sister magazines, HORSE and Eventing. There are some fantastic prizes on offer, including £500 of Harry Hall gear, a William Funnell range jacket, five bridles, plus feed items, from Battle, Howard and Bower, and a whole range of freebies up for grabs.
To make the show even more special, British team medallists will join the HOYS 2005 champions on the Sunday evening for Gala Night. The silver team medallists at the European Pony Championships in Italy, as well as individual gold medal winner, Louise Saywell will be representing the show jumping fraternity. The bronze medal winning Pony and Young Rider teams will represent dressage in the finale and the gold medal winning Pony and Young Rider eventers will join the triumphant senior European champions.
Mike Gill of Grandstand Media Ltd, organisers of the Horse of the Year Show said: “We are really delighted to be honouring those who have contributed so much to our equestrian sport this year and feel that the grand finale of a show, known as the ‘Champion of Champions’, is particular fitting – the scene will be one of overwhelming emotion and pride. “
For more information about the Horse of the Year Show, which takes place at the NEC Arena, Birmingham from Wednesday 12 – Sunday 16 October, visit: www.hoys.co.uk