Against a backdrop of stars, approximately 45,000 visitors enjoyed six magical days at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). With the Show enjoying capacity crowds during prime performances, the buoyant atmosphere at this year's Show was euphoric. Nick Skelton, who has attended the show every year since 1973, commented that the Show was the "best in 25 years."
"The event has been a resounding success" commented Mark Wein, a Director of Grandstand Media Ltd, the Show Organisers. "Visitors came to HOYS in their thousands to enjoy the unique mix of fierce competition, superb displays and fantastic shopping that make up this unique annual event."
Arnold Garvey, editor of Horse & Hound declared Tuesday evening's Inter Services Tournament "a hugely successful innovation" and commented that the Show "built in atmosphere as the week went on" and that by the weekend "the arenas were really buzzing"
HOYS is the pinnacle of the national show jumping season, and is the one show that every show jumper, from the junior riders through to the seniors, all want to win. Perhaps one of the most prestigious classes is the Horse & Hound Foxhunter Final, named after Sir Harry Llewellwyn's great horse "Foxhunter", won this year by William Funnell on Mondriaan. This class is seen as a pointer for the superstars of the future and many winners have gone on to become great show jumping stars. Graham Fletcher commented, "the whole show was pure entertainment" with the show jumping "producing slick, enjoyable competitions for competitors and spectators alike."
The Metropolitan Police, who returned after last year's debut, with their extremely popular Activity Ride, had the crowd cheering them through every performance. Brave rider, Inspector Alan Hiscox, led the ride all week despite a serious injury. The Household Cavalry Musical Ride who galloped into the dark arena, spot lit, to "Castles in the Sky" by Ian Van Dahl, provided a stunning display of military precision riding which received a rapturous response from the packed arena. The third display - The Masked Caballero, by the dashing Daniel Naprous, was an exciting mix of stunt riding, dressage and salsa dancing.
feature of HOYS is the extended ringside dining area, which borders two
sides of the Arena, allowing VIP and corporate visitors ringside seating.
This, unlike other equestrian event hospitality, allows the visitors to
almost be a part of the action and was more popular this year than ever.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday's Black Tie evenings were sold out by the
end of August. A full á la carte menu was on offer, and guests
attending the evening weekend performances were greeted with a glass of
With more than 150 companies in attendance, exhibition space at the Show was at a premium, with a waiting list of companies wishing to exhibit. "Naturally we are aware that the cancellation of so many outdoor shows this summer made HOYS an attractive proposition. However, with visitors spending on average £75 - £100 with our trade stand holders, an attractive trading area and packed aisles over the weekend, I am confident that many of the companies who exhibited for the very first time will return to exhibit at HOYS in future years" commented Mark Wein
The Show generates increasing interest from the media in general, with coverage in national and regional newspapers and magazines reaching more than 20 million readers countrywide. Interest from radio stations continues to grow, with many BBC and independent stations following local competitors and stories at the Show itself. Several national and regional television stations were also in attendance at the show filming for various television features.
"There is no doubt the Horse of the Year Show continues to go from strength to strength, demonstrated by a record number of exhibitors and competitors coupled with an increase in year on year visitor attendance" concludes Mark Wein. "In a year where so many equestrian events have suffered due to the effects of Foot and Mouth Disease, the Show has ended the season on a real high and we are already looking forward to next year's event."