Dig out the summer frock and hat and get yourself into the summer show season at The Royal Windsor Horse Show (13-17 May).
The RWHS is the first major show of the season and the UK’s largest outdoor equestrian event. The show not only offers five days of equestrian competition and entertainment but is unique in that it also hosts international showjumping, dressage, driving and endurance.
The show was first set up in 1943 by King George VI in order to raise funds for the war effort and has ever since continued to donate thousands of pounds to veterans and serving soldiers in need of help. Royal Windsor Horse Show’s official charity is the ABF Soldiers Charity.
The show takes place in the beautiful grounds of Windsor Castle with the special back drop of the Castle. It is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public. There are many lovely trees and shrubs that are at their best at this time of the year.
Her Majesty The Queen will be in attendance as she has done every year since the show began in 1943. This year Her Majesty will be ringside to watch her homebred Highland horses compete as well as former racehorse Barbers Shop compete in the ladies side-saddle hunter class. It is also a great show for a bit of celeb spotting.
Royal Windsor is a show for devotees of many unusual breeds and types. There are 150 showing classes alone; from heavyweight show cobs to mini show ponies, Andalusians Appaloosas and Arabs. Showing highlights include; the Land Rover mountain and moorland supreme in-hand championship, the retrained racehorse challenge championship, the Cuddy hunter Championship, the native ridden Heritage championship and the coloured native and traditional ridden championship.
Treat yourself to a member’s ticket and book a table in the stylish Members ringside restaurant for a three-course meal before the evening performance. Or bring a picnic to share with friends whilst enjoying the atmosphere of The Park and delight in a spot of people watching while you graze.
Many top British showjumpers will become Windsor residents for the five days and most will be competing each day. The one they will all want to win will be the international Alltech Grand Prix in the Castle arena on Sunday afternoon.
Book a ringside ticket for Friday evening’s international grand prix dressage freestyle to music – there is also an advanced medium freestyle on Wednesday afternoon.
Watch the World’s top four-in-hand drivers deftly manoeuvre four horses and a carriage through the obstacles in the marathon section of the FEI World Cup four-in-hand driving qualifier. The marathon takes place in Windsor Great Park on Saturday 16 May. Or go ringside and step back in time watching the popular light trade turnouts and the theatrical return of the coaching marathon.
Both The Household Cavalry and The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery take to the arena to perform their daring Musical Rides. Other arena attractions over the five days are the DAKs Pony Club mounted games, the Shetland Pony Grand National and unique to Royal Windsor, Skill at Arms and tent Pegging. These military competitions date back to the 1700s and present day Army members will be demonstrating their horsemanship, accuracy and determination needed for these historical skills.
With over 230 selected shops in the shopping village it will be hard not to go home without a bag or two.
There is no show quite like Royal Windsor. So take time out to enjoy a glass of your favourite tipple – or a cup of tea – and simply enjoy watching this very British and very elegant show go by.