On the eve of the London 2012 Olympic Games, some of the world’s best riders are at Hickstead for the Longines Royal International Horse Show, the official show of the British Horse Society.
The world’s top eight showjumping nations will vie for the FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain at the All England Jumping Course in West Sussex. The flagship event – with a €200,000 prize fund – is on Friday, July 20, and following last year’s victory by the German team the home side will be doing their utmost to claim back the honours.
Sunday’s finale class, the Longines King George V Gold Cup, is one of the most sought after international Grand Prix classes in the world. A win at the show will no doubt bolster a nation’s confidence and morale just before the Olympics. Olympic course builders Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater will also be creating the courses for Hickstead, giving riders a final chance over their tracks just before the Games.
The international classes start on Thursday, July 19, with the Amlin Plus Eventing Grand Prix. This class sees event riders and showjumpers go head to head round a course of coloured poles and fixed rustic fences.
Last year, Gary Parsonage made history by winning the class for the fourth time.
Saturday is a very special day at Hickstead. Not only is there the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup, the pinnacle of national grand prix classes, but it’s also Ladies’ Day at Hickstead, held in support of Variety, the Children’s Charity.
Ten of the most fashionably dressed visitors will be chosen by Hickstead’s team of selectors, and invited into the International Arena for the final judging.
There, celebrity judge Barbara Windsor will pick the best dressed lady and two runners-up, with prizes including a three-day break for two guests to the De Vere Carrick on Loch Lomond; a Jemma Kidd make up master class; a goodie bag of makeup worth £100; dinner, bed and breakfast for two at Pelham House in Lewes, Sussex; and dinner, bed and breakfast stay at Newick Park Hotel & Country Estate.
And if you appreciate immaculate turnout, the Longines Royal International Horse Show is one of the biggest events in the showing world.
Six days of top-class showing culminates in two of the most prestigious titles of all – the British Horse Society Supreme Horse and the Dick Saunders Supreme Pony.
With coloured ponies, working hunters, show hunters, riding horses, native ponies, hacks, arabs, cobs, show ponies, side-saddle classes and more, every showing rider will be hoping to win at the show.
The showing classes – and national showjumping classes – kick off on Tuesday, July 17.
Admission prices start from £15 per adult, with discounts for families, children and senior citizens. To book, go to www.hickstead.co.uk or call 01273 834315.