No evening or floodlit classes will be held at this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show. In their place, organisers are unveiling a new event — Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo.
“The Tattoo is completely different to the horse show — it is a new, separate event about soldiers and military pomp and circumstance,” said organiser Simon Brooks-Ward.
“The evening horse show performance was not financially sustainable in its old format. We need to bring in two audiences each day, and this will provide new facilities for the horse show — over 3,000 more seats, stages, big screens — everything can be upgraded.”
The horse show (8-11May) will have a new finishing time of 6pm, with the Tattoo (8-10 May) starting at 6.30pm.
And while Mr Brooks-Ward stressed “all evening classes will be incorporated into the day”, the Saturday night puissance — brought back in 2007 after 26 years — is being replaced by a day-time six-bar contest, and it is likely the popular scurry driving displays will go, too.
Geoff Osborne, of scurry sponsors Osborne Refrigerators, told H&H: “We’re very upset about it — we want to be there and can’t remember the last time we weren’t.”
Mr Brooks-Ward said final scheduling details — including news on national show jumping classes — will be announced next week.
John Whitaker, who jointly won last year’s puissance with son Robert, told H&H: “It is a pity for us and a pity for the crowds that there will be no puissance.”
Organisers hope a total of 20,000 visitors will attend the Tattoo, which will recognise the work of soldiers on dangerous operations, and support their families.
Entitled “A Heroes Welcome”, the event will include ceremonial Army displays, bands, pipes and drums as well as the Army musical drives and rides one has always seen at the show. In between the displays large screens will show footage from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tickets for the Tattoo (priced £15-£45) give entry to the horse show but not vice versa. Profits will be donated to help those serving on current operations. Full show members gain free admission to the Tattoo on 8 May only. Tel: 01753 743907 for more details.
More details next week.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (14 February, ’08)