The 15 horse shows you shouldn’t miss

By Nicola Jane Swinney on |


Royal Windsor Horse Show 2015

Whether you’re a showing competitor or merely a spectator there are some shows that you really should not miss. Add these dates to your diary for 2016.

Royal Windsor, May 11-15

One of the most glorious settings and the show that truly kicks off the summer season. It features a direct qualifier for Olympia, so expect to see the crème de la crème of mountain and moorland ponies. And you might even spot The Queen…

Suffolk, June 1-2

Delightful showground and a wonderfully warm atmosphere. You can see superb heavy horses, including the Shire, Percheron and, of course, the county’s eponymous Suffolk. The show boasts a supreme in-hand championship.

Royal Cornwall, June 9-11

It feels like you’re going to the end of the earth and takes forever to get to, but it has lovely rings, one of the best working hunter courses on the circuit, and an inter-hunt relay. It’s a friendly and well-run show.

Royal Three Counties, June 17-19

Set in the lee of the magnificent Malvern Hills, this is one of the most beautiful showgrounds in the land, and the showing is top-class too.

Royal Highland, June 23-26

This massive show, held over four days, showcases Scotland’s native breeds, the Highland, Shetland and Clydesdales. Ridden Clydesdale classes are wonderful to watch!

North of England Horse Show, July 2

An extremely well-run show at the accessible Arena UK, this features three £1,000-to-the-winner finals, so expect the see the country’s best horses forward.

Great Yorkshire, July 12-14

The Harrogate Showground’s spectacular main ring has to be seen to be believed, and its size means the horses can really lower and stretch in the gallop. Excellent shopping, too.

Scottish Horse Show, July 19

A compact one-day fixture held at the same venue as the Royal Highland, this show offers almost 100 classes over nine rings and attracts exhibit from all over the UK. The 2015 show had 1,100 entries.

Royal Welsh, July 18-21

Spectacular showground for a spectacular breed. Although this four-day show features all kinds of classes, it is the Welsh breeds’ showcase. Watching the Welsh Cob in-hand classes, particularly the stallions, should be on everyone’s bucket list.

New Forest & Hampshire County, July 26-28

A proper country show that celebrates the beauty of the New Forest breed — one of our most delightful native ponies.

Royal International, July 26-31

Held at the All-England Jumping Course at Hickstead, this is the highlight of the summer season, where the top horses and ponies battle it out for coveted championships.

National Hunter Show, August 20-21

The showcase for our superb hunters, with the best ridden animals in the country as well as the up-and-coming youngstock to watch for the following season. See if you can spot a future star.

BSHA National Championships, September 9-11

Be prepared for show-stopping evening performances, when exhibitors go all out to land the coveted supreme titles. Expect two nights of pure showmanship, plus the final Cuddy in-hand qualifier of 2016.

Horse of the Year Show, October 5-9

There is always an end-of-term feel to HOYS, when those who have qualified throughout the summer season converge upon Birmingham’s NEC to find out who is the best of the best.

Olympia, December 13-19

Perhaps the most important date in the mountain and moorland showing calendar, when the cream of our ridden native breeds try to win the prestigious Blue Chip BSPS accolade.

Image: Working hunter championships at the Royal Windsor Horse Show 2015, by Hpower/Kit Houghton


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