This year’s Belfast International Horse Show will host an attempt to break the equine high jump world record, which currently stands at 8ft 1in (2.47m).
Chilean cavalry officer, Capt Alberto Larraguibel Morales set the record riding a Chilean Thoroughbred named Huaso back in 1949. Nick Skelton is the current holder of the British high jump record at 7ft 7in, which he achieved riding Lastic at Olympia in 1978.
Belfast is moving away from the traditional big red wall of modern puissance competitions for the world record attempt, returning instead to the traditional slopping poles, set at a 35degree angle, over which previous records have been achieved.
Alan Beaumont, director of the Belfast show, explains: “In order for the world record to be recognised, the fence has to be the same as the one used for previous records. It will be easier to jump than an upright and most riders prefer to jump a big sloping fence.”
Riders will have the opportunity to familiarise themselves and their horse over the world record-compliant fence in two qualifying rounds at the show. The 10 riders who jump highest in the qualifying rounds will go forward to the final on the show’s last day.
“In addition to the £15,000 to the winner, we are hoping to have bonus prizes for any rider who manages to break the Irish, English or World record,” explains Beaumont, who is currently looking for sponsors for the world record attempt.
Beaumont hopes that the substantial prize money, combined with the prestige of the world record, will encourage more riders to prepare a high jump specialist from their stable.
“We have announced this class very early in the year to give riders time to prepare and train a horse specifically for the record attempt. Riders that I have spoken to are very excited by the idea so the final should provide real entertainment,” he concludes.
In addition to the new high jump record attempt, the third Belfast International Horse Show (1-4 December) will include an extra matinee performance and will host prestigious finals of national jumping classes. Tickets go on sale on Friday 17 June.
For more information visit: www.belfasthorseshow.com