The Horse Circus: 8.1.14

The Horse Circus We pretend to go to the horse show but everyone really knows it’s a circus!

Bring on the clowns! And the horses too!

Every Friday Counter-Canter Culture features the important US and International Horse Shows currently under way.

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Longines Royal International Horse Show

This Friday, The Horse Circus is taking you back to the beautiful All England Jumping Course at Hickstead. After holding the Hickstead Derby Meeting in June, the facility is now back in full swing for the Longines Royal International Horse Show – a show with the distinction of being the oldest in Britain at 107.

The Royal International Horse Show also has the honor of calling Her Majesty The Queen its patron. And it seems the Queen takes particular pride in the fact that this horse show has endured for so long and through some of Britain’s greatest changes and hardships. Upon the 100th anniversary of the event, she sent a letter to the chairman of the board of trustees for the show’s official organizer, The British Horse Society. Here is a copy of that special letter:

Queens Letter re Hickstead 100

In 2014, the Royal International Horse Show returns with a program packed with classes of national and international significance, and there have already been some big time winners. On Thursday, William Funnell aboard Billy Angelo won the The Bunn Leisure Trophy. This is no small accomplishment as Funnell plucked victory from the hands of American top rider, McLain Ward, and British star Ben Maher, who came in second and third respectively.   Funnell also claimed important points toward his Longines World Ranking. Here is the pair in action.

The Bunn Leisure Trophy winner William Funnell and Billy Angelo.  Photo by Julie Priestley

The Bunn Leisure Trophy winner William Funnell and Billy Angelo. Photo by Julie Priestley

On the slate for today is the all-important Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2014 of Great Britian.  This will be the British public’s only chance to watch their team compete on home turf, and coming so late in the season, the results here play a big part in determining the teams survival.  On Sunday, the show wraps up with the excitement of the Longines King George V Gold Cup, which boasts the richest prize of the show.

But before all is said and done on Sunday, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and Ladies’ Day will take center stage on Saturday.  The Cup was traditionally a women’s only national championship, but it was opened up to male competitors in 2008.  Nevertheless, it is still the climax of Ladies’ Day at Hickstead, which also offers up a ringside Ladies’ Day Enclosure exclusively for those dressed in approved finery and luxurious awards for the “Best Dressed Fillies.”

All proceeds from Ladies’ Day at Hickstead are given to Dreamflight, a UK childrens charity, which is planning to use the funds to make sure 192 very important child have the trip of a lifetime later this year.

Here is the kind of turn out you can expect from the fine “fillies” at Hickstead this year.

Ladies Day All

The Royal International Horse Show may be over 100 years old, but it is always looking for ways to keep current.  For example, you can download the Hickstead app to your smart phone, and enjoy important information like the class schedule, shopping area map, weather updates and of course the location of the closest champagne bar, all at the tip of your fingers.  Find out how to add the app to your phone by clicking here: Hickstead App.

And The British Horse Society is running a selfie contest.  On their Facebook page, BHS urges “Don’t forget to send us you selfies with a BHS logo somewhere in shot – the best wins a £30 BHS Bookshop voucher! #BHSHicksteadSelfie!”  This picture, which humorously manages to miss having a full BHS logo in not one but two locations serves as an example:

BHS Selfie Contest

Still I say, when at The Royal International Horse Show absolutely take a selfie and send it to BHS! But if you can’t be there, there are a variety of viewing options. In Britain, many of the main events will air on Sky Sports, and most of the rest of the world will be able to have some television coverage. Check out the schedule here: RIHS TV Schedule. For the rest of us, and by us I mean primarily the sad United States, at least live coverage of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping is available on the web at FEI TV.

If you can this weekend, do find a way to put on your biggest hat, sip a little champagne and enjoy Her Majesty The Queen’s Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead!

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