Equine excitement builds ahead of the Royal Bath and West Show

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Anticipation over the equine entrants for the showing classes is building ahead of this year’s Royal Bath & West Show.

To be held over three days (30 May – 1 June), the equine schedule and entrants already look strong, which will no doubt translate to top-tier turnout and competition. “I always look forward to the championships most,” says Jane Cooper, Chairman of the Horse Committee.

“On the Friday afternoon we will have the final of the Price Family In-Hand Championship.  People come far and wide for it, even from Newmarket, and the winner of the competition will be going on to the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). “It is therefore a very prestigious event, as only a few horses go on to HOYS. We will also have some of the best ridden hunters competing in the main ring on Friday morning, which can also qualify for HOYS.”

The calibre of entrants at this year’s event looks promising. “We will have some top-class horses this year, with winners from major shows taking part,” says Ms Cooper. “This includes the Price Supreme Champion 2023, a bay mare called Royal Stage. She was bred locally by one of our very own committee members, Virginia Russell-Wood, and shown by Jeff Grace.”

It is not just experienced horses and riders getting the spotlight, but ponies and young people too. “On the Saturday there will be a variety of new pony classes for young people,” she says. “This will be aimed at riders between four and 20 years old, with classes to suit everybody. This includes three HOYS ridden mountain and moorland classes, and new this year is an amateur mountain and moorland class and one for mini jockeys.

“The entries are beginning to come in, but there is always a last-minute rush, so it is exciting to see what the competitions will be like.”

So, what will the judges be looking for in their winning entries? “I’m obviously looking for the best exhibits I can find,” says Jaqueline Webb, an experienced equine judge who will be tapping out the winners this year.

“I will be looking out for animals that catch the eye and have a good walk. They should shout at you that they are the breed standard and exhibit all the right traits and characteristics of that particular breed. I am also looking for the correct attire on the handlers and riders, as well as the correct saddles and bridles on the horses and ponies.

“The Bath and West entries are normally very good,” she adds. “So, I am definitely looking forward to it.”

Competition is a big part of country shows, says head of shows, Jess Chiplen. “The Royal Bath & West Show sees some of the very best equine competition in the country – not only proven talent but also up-and-coming horses, ponies, riders, and handlers.”

  • For equine showing schedules and details visit: www.bathandwest.com/light-horse-competition
  • To book tickets to this year’s show visit: www.bathandwest.com/royal-bath-and-west-show/visitors/tickets