Seven new equestrian classes have been added to the programme for the 2009 Royal Show as part of a major revamp.

They are three Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifiers, as well as two heavy horse classes and two private driving classes.

Sarah Deeming from the Royal Agricultural Society of England said: “We are delighted to have been offered three new HOYS qualifiers — we now have 19 sections with qualifiers. The extra heavy horse classes and driving classes were spurred on by feedback from competitors and breed societies.”

The addition of the classes is part of a major overhaul of this year’s show, at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, 7-10 July.

Other innovations include a new showground layout, more livestock and a return to the midweek slot preferred by farmers and traders.

The new classes are shire horse of the year (HOYS qualifier), ridden heavy horse and heavy horse young handler.

John Ward from the Shire Horse Society said the classes “had to be a bonus”.

For more information, go to www.royalshow.org.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (12 February, ’09)