The shire horse of the year championship looks set to return to the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) after an eight-year break.
John Ward from the Shire Horse Society told H&H: “We couldn’t find a suitable venue at the right time of year to act as a good shop window for the breed, so we decided that, despite the extra costs, we would return to HOYS.”
The last time the championship was held at HOYS was when the event was staged at Wembley in 2001.
It has since been held at British Show Jumping Association/Scope Festival, Valients EC in Preston and the East of England Showground. But in a bid to showcase the breed to a wider audience, the society’s committee supported a move back to HOYS.
“People who attended weren’t really seeing the best of the breed,” said Mr Ward. “HOYS is the best place for us.”
The final was held at the East of England Showground last year. This year, the society was also offered the venue for 22 August, but felt the date was too early.
Mr Ward added: “The one problem will be the added cost to members. But the majority of the council voted for it and feel that it will benefit everyone.”
Top shire producer Alistair King from Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre said: “I’m delighted. Last year, I wasn’t really chasing that hard to get to the championship as it didn’t really have the glory of going to HOYS. I welcome the move.”
A spokesman for HOYS told H&H the contract was in the process of being signed.
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (19 February, ’09)