The Longines Royal International Horse Show, the official Horse Show of The British Horse Society, is one of biggest and most prestigious equestrian events in the world, with top class showjumping, showing, driving and arena eventing all being held at the All England Jumping Course, Hickstead from 27-31 July.
Hickstead in West Sussex is known as the home of British showjumping, and the showground has hosted the Longines Royal International Horse Show since 1992. Having celebrated its centenary in 2007, the show is now the venerable age of 109, making it one of the oldest horse shows in the world.
The international classes get underway from Thursday onwards, with the focus of this day being the Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge, a class that was introduced in 2015 and was an immediate success. The Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup of Great Britain, held on the Friday afternoon, gives spectators their only chance to see the British riders compete as a team on home turf, and this year will take part just a week before the equestrian events get underway at the Rio Olympics. Hickstead is going to be the final leg in this year’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup series, and Team GB will face opposition from reigning champions Belgium plus Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the USA, the Netherlands and Ireland.
Saturday’s highlight is the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup, while the show concludes with the Longines King George V Gold Cup, a Grand Prix boasting a €200,000 prize fund.
Nearly all of the showing classes at this show are open to qualified combinations only, which means horses and ponies have been campaigned all over the country in order to claim one of the qualifying tickets just to compete on Hickstead’s hallowed turf. Those that win their classes go through to compete in their relevant championship, and the very best of these will battle it out for honours in the British Horse Society Supreme Horse and the Underwood Supreme Pony.
Saturday is Ladies’ Day, where the best-dressed ladies have the chance to win some great prizes.
The Charles Owen shopping village offers one of the largest shopping experiences in the show calendar, with more than 200 stalls selling everything from tack, clothing, footwear and equestrian equipment, to gifts, produce and lots more. The showground also has a children's funfair to entertain younger visitors, plus lots of different catering outlets offering tempting food and drink. Equally, visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic, set up a spot near the International Arena and enjoy watching some of the world’s best horses and riders compete.
There are also a number of hospitality options for those who want to make their visit to Hickstead extra special. With the al fresco Ringside Restaurant, the Members’ Restaurant, private boxes and Ringside Lodges, there are many options to choose from – with each offering superb viewing over the International Arena.