This year’s Equifest (14-18 August) was marred for many by vandalism, thefts and anti-social behaviour, which meant several people were escorted off the East of England showground.
Numerous competitors and spectators took to Facebook to vent their frustration.
“Really disappointed to find my six-man tent ruined, suitcases raided and money stolen,” said Natalie Hughes.
“One of our tents has been broken into and our food stolen,” said Suzie Swires. “Thankfully, we had locked our big things up.”
Others complained of loud, drunken behaviour in the early hours and of owners failing to pick up after their dogs.
Becky Godfrey-Faussett said: There were too many people allowing dogs to roam and, worse still, not clearing up after them. Stricter rules would be appreciated.”
There were also reports of a man exposing himself to children and a couple having sex next to one of the rings.
The show’s organiser Betsy Branyan was praised for dealing efficiently with a number of incidents. Halfway through the show (16 August), she organised for security to be stepped up.
“The problems were caused by [some] young people without parental supervision and, sadly, several had to be escorted off the showground,” she told H&H.
“Alcohol-fuelled incidents, theft and vandalism were the biggest problems we had to deal with and more measures will be put in place next year.”
Many voiced their support for the organisers of this popular event, which is often treated as a holiday by competitors and spectators.
“At any show, there will always be some who want to ruin it for others and push their ‘fun’ too far,” said Sophia Bell.
“Considering the amount of people and horses that were there, I think everyone did a very good job.”