The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead — or just Hickstead, as it’s more commonly known — is an equestrian showground in West Sussex that hosts a number of prestigious shows including the Hickstead Derby in June and the Royal International Horse Show in July.
In the 1950s, top-level showjumper and millionaire businessman Douglas Bunn realised the UK needed facilities to match those found in the USA and Europe if British showjumpers were to compete on an even playing field. He used the money he’d made through his caravan business to fund his vision.
Opened in 1960, Hickstead remains one of the world’s leading equestrian venues, and is still run by the Bunn family today. The Hickstead Derby course has barely changed in five decades and remains one of the most challenging in the world. The Derby Bank (a jump with 3ft 5in rails on top and 10ft 6in slope down the front) is famous on the showjumping circuit.
Douglas Bunn died in 2009, leaving not only the great showground as his legacy, but also the now popular sport of team chasing!
Hickstead is also host to the National Schools Championships, where qualifying young riders get to jump off in the world-famous International Arena. A breeding ground for stars of the future, Clare Balding, Pippa Funnell and model Jodie Kidd have all competed in these championships.
Newer additions to the Hickstead competition calendar are the All England Jumping Tour, which provides national showjumpers, including amateur riders, with two weeks of world-class competition experience on home soil in late August/early September, and the All England Dressage Festival, which attracts the best British dressage talent in May.