Horses for courses: the best of this year's horse shows
No long faces here, neigh – Pitchup.com has gone all horsey. We’ve been glued to the Badminton Horse Trials in Gloucestershire and the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Her Maj’s gaff last week and this – and are very proud indeed to announce we are sponsoring a class at this year’s Equifest!
Our very own Gillian Hare (right) will be camping nearby to oversee it all and pin on the whinny-ing rosettes – we’ll see you there. In the meantime, we’ve harnessed our expertise to put together our top horse events for this year to take us through to December’s Olympia Horse Show. And even mare, we’ve added a guide to camping and horse riding, with some of the best campsites in the country to saddle up at.
We have of course added many asinine puns too, but we did try to rein them in. (Lie.)
Horse riding and camping
Champing at the bit to get in some cantering of your own before/as well as galloping off to a horse show? Search on Pitchup.com for campsites and holiday parks to take the cavalry to – we have over 690 sites with horse riding nearby . A crop of our favourites; many with horse riding lessons on site:
Bardwell Manor Equestrian Centre , Suffolk
Beaver Hill Equestrian Centre , Staffordshire
Bwlchgwyn Farm and Pony Trekking , Gwynedd
Gorsebank Camping Cabins , Dumfries and Galloway : on an equestrian farm with horse riding nearby
Dedham Camping , Essex : resident horses to meet; pony rides often available
Bude Holiday Resort , Cornwall : five riding schools nearby
The Hideaway at Baxby Manor , North Yorkshire : riding stables in the area and a trekking centre a few miles away
Camping de la Roche Percée , Bretagne : book horse riding excursions at reception
Horse shows and events
Equifest , 12 – 16 August, Cambridgeshire
Hoof it here for the ‘Equestrian Extravaganza at the East of England’ showground: Pitchup.com has sponsored the Show Hunter Pony class on Thursday 14 August and there are stacks of open and championship classes to ride in/spectate at, as well of dozens of trade stands on all things horse.
Tall Trees Leisure Park in Wisbech is a leafy 15-acre site with a first-class luxury farm shop peddling piles of local produce including cheeses, olives, jams and chutneys. (We feel we should point out that fresh cream cakes are available every weekend too.) Tent, tourer and motorhome pitches with optional electric are available at Tall Trees for all of Equifest, at a starting price of £44 for the four nights.
Burghley Horse Trials , 3 – 6 September, Lincolnshire
Don’t bale from Cambridgeshire/Lincolnshire after Equifest in August: stay in the saddle until September (we’re tempted) and canter along to the Burghley Horse Trials in Stamford. Showjumping, dressage/horse dancing and the last day’s cross-country course (with new hurdles and a new loop to the Classics Leaf Pit) will all be here, along with lots of opps to shop for horsey bits, gifts and human treats such as jewellery, crafts, furniture and clothing.
The pitches at Tall Trees are also available for Burghley and there are a few other options in the area too. The Secret Garden Touring Park in the Fenlands about eight miles away have non-electric pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes from £45, and camping pods from £90, on a wildlife site with its own herd of Gloucester Old Spot pigs and a ‘pig cam’.
Horse of the Year Show , 7 – 11 October, Birmingham NEC
There are very high standards at HOYS, called the best horse show in the world by American horse whisperer Monty Roberts. Designed as a show to find the ‘champion of champions’ in the equestrian world, its mane attractions are the Pony Club Mounted Games for the Prince Philip Cup, the British National Show Jumping finals and the Showing Championships among stacks more. Wild horses couldn’t drag us away from this one.
Combine horsing about with fishing at Derbyshire ’s Springwood Fisheries , about half an hour away on the edge of the National Forest. A camping pod with electric, heating, TV, DVD, microwave and kettle starts from £236 for 7 – 11 October.
Royal International Horse Show , 28 July – 2 August, West Sussex
One of the oldest horse shows in the world, this is a long-in-the-tooth 107 years old in 2014 and packs in international showjumping, the British Showjumping Winter Finals, horse and pony showing. Even more excitingly, the show is the only British host of the FEI Nations Cup, so the only place for UK equestrian enthusiasts to see the British showjumping team on its own turf. Yell yourself hoarse.
No jockeying for position at The Barn Caravan Park about 11 miles away from the show and half a mile away from Lancing, a roomy site with pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes from £80 for the five nights.
The beaut fully-furnished bell tent at Southern Bells, 17 miles away at Lingfield, is also available during the show, from £600 for up to four people, but don’t gamble on waiting, it won’t be there furlong.
Blair Castle International Horse Trials , 10 - 13 September, Perthshire
Scotland’s biggest horsey event usually sees over 40,000 visitors a year, of whom we bet many thousands have the nous to nose around Perthshire afterwards. All four days of the trials have equestrian events, but the final two days also include the Bruadar Country Fair and over 200 stalls on what the organisers call ‘traditional and more modern countryside pursuits’. Tally-ho.
Corriefoldly Holiday Park is 19 miles away from Blair Atholl at Blairgowrie, with trout fishing on the River Ardle flowing through the park. Hardstanding electric pitches for tourers and motorhomes are available for all three nights from £60.
Also trot along to:
Houghton International Horse Trials , 28 – 31 May, Norfolk
Barbury Horse Trials , 3 – 6 July, Wiltshire
Festival of British Eventing , 7 – 9 August, Gloucestershire
World Equestrian Games , August/September, Normandy, 2015 dates tbc
Blenheim Horse Trials , 17 – 20 September, Oxfordshire
Campsites in England with horse riding nearby
Campsites in France with horse riding nearby
Campsites in Wales with horse riding nearby
Campsites in Scotland with horse riding nearby
Campsites in Ireland with horse riding nearby
Campsites in Spain with horse riding nearby
The New Forest (ponies!)
Horse and Hound guide to major equestrian events 2014
Page updated February 2015