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A Mini Guide To Horse Of The Year Show 2003
NEC Arena, Wednesday 17th to Sunday 21st September

Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), which started at Haringay Arena in 1949, and moved to Wembley ten years later, found a new home at the NEC last year in a move that was heralded a 'triumph'. Record crowds of 55,000 converged on the NEC Arena and adjoining exhibition halls to enjoy one of the country's most traditional sporting occasions.

On the eve of this year's event, the organisers of Britain's largest indoor equestrian show announced the future plans. Grandstand Media Limited, who took up the reins of running Horse of the Year Show in 1997, have confirmed that they have signed a new three year contract with the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, which means that the event will take place at the venue until at least 2006.


Legends were made here. Both horses and riders became heroes and household names after passing through the famous curtains to the International Arena at this legendary event. Riders such as Harvey Smith, Caroline Bradley, David Broome, Paddy McMahon, John & Michael Whitaker along with horses like Milton, Stroller, Penwood Forge Mill, Ryan's Son and Super Ted are but a few. It was Horse of the Year Show that provided a vital stepping-stone in all of their illustrious careers.


All the national showing and show jumping championships are held here and everyone who rides at HOYS has qualified to compete. Over 150,000 competitors enter qualifiers all over the country each year and in some cases less than one percent winning a coveted place in the championship.
Every day there will be top show jumping competitions, fast and furious Scurry Racing and the Pony Club Mounted Games.

Long established as the pre-eminent event for unique displays and family entertainment, Horse of the Year Show's tradition of innovative ideas will continue this year with three bespoke specially choreographed displays:

· The Magical World of Horses - For the average 8-12 year old, having a major role at Britain's premier equestrian event of the year is hardly part of the daily routine. But for members of the Cheshire North Branch of the Pony Club it will be one of the biggest occasions in their young lives when they present a spectacular mystical musical display of synchronised riding and horsemanship, at HOYS.

· La Garrocha - Leading Spanish equestrian Jesús Maroles Sánchez will perform at this year's event every day. The display will be a special adaptation of traditional Spanish Riding. Jesús, from Cordoba in southern Spain, was hailed by many as the star performer at the Equitana event in Germany last March. Featuring Spanish guitarists playing live in the Arena, the display is both fast and intricate and demonstrates exquisite horsemanship whilst working with the traditional Garrocha.

· The headline display, which is billed as a 'HOYS Epic' is the moving story of Equitis Virtus (The Brave Horseman). Set in the days of the Roman Empire, this action-packed feature presentation tells the story of a peasant farmer who is enslaved and trained to be a gladiator. Amazing stunt riding enters a new era in this specially choreographed display, performed in full Roman costume and starring Ian van Temperley whose screen credits include Sleepy Hollow, Jason & the Argonauts and Gladiator. It boasts some of the country's leading professional stuntmen from both film and television who have been brought together for this unique performance across several scenes which produce an exception piece of equestrian theatre.

All three displays will take place during every evening performance and also during the afternoon performance on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


A host of celebrities are expected to celebrate the final performance at Britain's greatest indoor equestrian event during a Gala Night hosted by actress Susan George.

The evening opens with a stunning show opening featuring the world's first ever opera band, Amici forever. Widely tipped to be a huge phenomenon in contemporary classical music, the band have already conquered audiences and performed at a number of high profile events including the opening of this year's Champions League Final at Old Trafford in front of a world wide audience of over 500 million.

Sunday's Gala Night performance is for the first time to host separate Supreme Titles featuring the Champions from each of the HOYS showing classes.

Those who qualify for the Supreme Pony of the Year Championship will be competing for the coveted Timberwolf Trophy whilst the Supreme Horse of the Year Championship, sponsored for the first time by PricewaterhouseCoopers, will be the top HOYS showing title for horses.

Sunday's Gala Night Performance also includes the Celebrity Hurry Scurry featuring National Hunt jockeys, Harness Championships, the Horse of the Year Show Grand Prix and the final of the Robinsons Pony Club Mounted Games for the Prince Philip Cup, which this year will be presented by HRH The Princess Royal.


A record number of over 160 stands in the shopping pavilion will provide visitors with excellent retail therapy. From gifts to fashion and everything equestrian there will be something for everyone amongst the packed stands. Also on offer is a new extended range of Horse of the Year Show merchandise


· A number of special presentations will be made during the star studded Gala Night performance on Sunday 21st September:
· The Equestrian of the Year Trophy will be awarded to the team or individual who have attained a unique achievement in the equestrian world. This may involve an unsurpassed performance or string of victories or may be in recognition of a lifetime achievement.
· The Leading Rider in the international classes at this year's show will receive a special prize. The rider with the most points throughout the thirteen International classes will be presented with a new saddle worth £1350.
· Traditionally, Britain's greatest indoor equestrian event has also recognised the achievements of the top Lady and Gentleman rider of the show by awarding the HOYS Spurs, which will be presented once again this year and will be sponsored by Neil Jones Equestrian.
· There will be a special demonstration of Parelli Natural Horsemanship at this year's show. The demonstration will take place in the Horse & Hound Arena at 11.45am on Saturday 20th September.
· Philip Ghazala from Somerset has been crowned the winner of the Hartpury New Equestrian Voice of the Year competition - a nationwide search to find new equestrian commentators. Philip will now join the Horse of the Year Show commentary team.
· 'The Shires Best Turned Out Award' will be awarded in each of the 56 showing sections recognising the efforts of the grooms' hard work behind the scenes.

Tickets start at £17.50, to book call the dedicated Horse of the Year Show booking line: 08700 10 10 52. Alternatively book online at where visitors can also find out all the latest news and information on Britain's greatest indoor equestrian event.


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