Posted on April 14th, 2021

An Equestrian Tribute: His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh

Following the sad news of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on 9th April, the horse world is coming together to commemorate his life. He was a huge force for good in the equestrian world and his contributions, commitment to the sport and his legacies have been widely acknowledged.

He competed at the highest level in Polo and Carriage Driving, administrating and leading the International Federation in one of the sport’s most successful phases. He started and supported new equestrian disciplines, he utilised his engineering interest to develop state of the art carriages for competition (including the bendy pole still used today) and he encouraged youth involvement in the sport, through the Pony Club.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show, of which he was the active President for 30 years, is co‐ordinating the equestrian communities’ tributes. The intention is to celebrate and commemorate the life of a remarkable man.

An online Book of Condolence from the equestrian world has been launched at The book will form the platform for collective memories and tributes. Anyone in the equestrian world is encouraged to contribute with a simple message, it could be personal, it could be reflective, it could be joyous or it could be a message to His Royal Highness to thank him for his contribution to the horse world.

At Royal Windsor Horse Show (1st-4th July) a Puissance Wall will be wrapped in the contributions and The Wall will become a central feature for people to remember The Duke of Edinburgh. In addition, Her Majesty The Queen will be presented with a physical copy of the book containing selected messages from the online contributions.

Simon Brooks‐Ward, Director of Royal Windsor Horse Show and Olympia, The London International Horse Show, said; “His Royal Highness played such an important role in the equestrian world that we felt it was very important that we should join together to create a lasting memory of his extraordinary life. We have sent this letter today to all of our contacts in the sport and we hope that the horse world will continue to share it and to encourage all of those who have been influenced by The Duke of Edinburgh to celebrate his immense contribution to our sport.”

Posted on March 25th, 2021

National fixture to replace Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting for 2021

The directors of the All England Jumping Course, Hickstead have made the difficult decision to cancel the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting for 2021, due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.

The international fixture will be replaced by a national show, the Al Shira’aa Jumping Championships, to run on the same dates (23rd-27th June). While there will be no international showjumping, there will be a range of jumping classes from British Novice to Grand Prix level as well as the usual showing and carriage driving classes that form part of the June fixture.

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting is one of the most iconic showjumping events in the international calendar, culminating in the Al Shira’aa Derby – a class that was first held in 1961. Normally around 40,000 people attend across the five days of the show.

The meeting was cancelled in 2020, which was the first time the class had not run since its inception. The decision to miss a second year has been a very disappointing one, but despite the encouraging Government announcements and rollout of the vaccine, the situation still remains fragile and unpredictable at this time.

The replacement event, the Al Shira’aa Jumping Championships, will see seven rings of competition run throughout the show, including the Longines International Arena. The highlights will be the Al Shira’aa Trophy, a 1.40m Grand Prix with a £15,000 prize fund, as well as the Al Shira’aa age championships. There will be a number of HOYS qualifying showing classes, plus the final of the RoR/Tattersalls Show Horse series.

Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn commented: “This has been a very tough decision, but the Derby is more than just a showjumping competition, it is an occasion where a full and enthusiastic crowd plays its part.  With the uncertainty over permitted attendance, as well as other restrictions that we face, we are concentrating all our efforts on running a major five-day national show instead. We would like to thank Al Shira’aa and all our stakeholders for their continued support during this challenging time.”

The plan is to run the event with limited public attendance, along with a boutique selection of tradestands, but full details will be confirmed nearer the time.

Competitor entries will open in April at

Posted on March 3rd, 2021

SHOW UPDATE: Royal Highland Show will not go ahead in 2021

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has announced that the 2021 Royal Highland Show will not go ahead following guidance from senior Scottish Government officials. 

This is the second year that Scotland’s largest event, attracting in the region of 200,000 visitors each year, will not take place due to the global pandemic.

Disappointed organisers said that they had left ‘no stone unturned’ in their determination to host the 180th Royal Highland Show, but restrictions likely to still be in place by June makit impossible to plan with confidence.

Therefore, organisers have switched instead to the development of a Royal Highland Show live concept, bringing together the most-loved parts of the show including livestock judging, show jumping and competitions. It is envisaged that as much as possible of the traditional show will take place behind closed doors at the showground and be livestreamed across the globe.

Commenting on the showcaseRHASS Chairman Bill Gray said: “This thrilling initiative will effectively be a Royal Highland Show Live event, giving audiences unique access to parts of the Show they have never experienced before. Imagine being side-by-side with the judge as they select the champion Clydesdale or soaring over the jumps on the back of a competing showjumper – with technology and the finest livestock all this is possible. Further details of the live event will be announced in the coming weeks. 

In the meantime, tickets purchased for the Royal Highland Show through Ticketmaster will receive an automatic ticket refund, including booking fee, and the promise of priority access to ticket sales for the 2022 Show.

The economic impact of another ‘no show’ year will be significant. The Royal Highland Show contributes in excess of £55.7 million each year to the Scottish economy and is viewed as the Oscars of the agricultural sector, with hundreds of rosettes presented each year to the finest livestock.

Posted on March 1st, 2021


The Organisers of Royal Windsor Horse Show have confirmed that Royal Windsor Horse Show will take place from Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th of July this year.

“We are looking forward to running a near as normal Show at Windsor in July,” said Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward. “The start of this year has been difficult for all live events, but recent government announcements have given us the confidence to go full steam ahead with the organising of Royal Windsor, which includes planning for an audience.”

All competition will be carried out with the emphasis being on competitors’ safety and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines required at that time by the local authority, health authorities, veterinary and equestrian associations and the government.

The schedule and a day-by-day programme will go online shortly with the Show running as close to its traditional format as possible and including International Jumping, Dressage, the Land Rover International Carriage Driving Grand Prix, International Endurance and Showing.

The Windsor Pageant, which was scheduled to take place in the evenings, will not take place. However, the Show will include many of the scheduled elements in a bumper edition of equestrian displays, acts and music within the main Show programme, which will take advantage of the long summer evenings .

Visitor tickets will be made available soon, with Royal Windsor Horse Show Club members prioritised. Should guidelines change and visitors not be allowed to attend on the dates of the Show then all purchased tickets will be refunded. Additionally, organisers have also committed to increasing the number of hours of live streaming and broadcast from the Show so that everyone can enjoy Royal Windsor online even if they are not able to attend in person.

“We are very grateful for the tremendous backing of our supporters, which has allowed us to plan with confidence,” continued Brooks-Ward. “They include Rolex, Bahrain Endurance, Hermès, Coworth Park, DAKS, Al Shira’aa, Champagne Laurent-Perrier and, in particular, our Principal Partner, Jaguar Land Rover.

“We are determined to produce one of our best events for the horse world to enjoy, with a competitive and upbeat edition of this 78-year-old horse show.”

Posted on March 1st, 2021

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Posted on February 26th, 2021

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Posted on February 25th, 2021

BEF update: plans to ease lockdown restrictions announced in England

The UK Prime Minister and Scotland’s First Minister have outlined their plans for the taking England and Scotland out of the current ‘stay at home’ restriction. Both leaders have given indicative timeframes, which give the equestrian sector a guide for when activity can resume, businesses can open and competitions can recommence.

While certain details around the easing of restrictions and how they affect the equestrian industry are still awaiting for clarification, below is British Equestrian’s current understanding of the situation.


The key dates and headlines are:

Step One – part A: from 8 March

  • Two people can meet outdoors to socialise
  • All schools return

Step One – part B: from 29 March

  • Six people or two households can meet outdoors
  • Outdoor sports facilities to open and organised sport allowed
  • Travel outside local area allowed

Step Two: from 12 April

  • Non-essential retail can open
  • Outdoor hospitality is permitted
  • Self-contained accommodation hire permitted

Step Three: from 17 May

  • Many social contact restrictions lifted outdoors
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors
  • Indoor hospitality and hotels open

Step Four: from 21 June               

  • All legal limits on social contact removed

This would indicate that those equestrian centres and other businesses who are education or training providers could start one-to-one sessions from 8 March, while most other activity – sport or leisure – can resume from 29 March. Our member bodies are working on various ‘return to play’ plans for release in the coming days with specific details for their sectors and stakeholder groups.

England – full ‘roadmap’

Posted on February 25th, 2021

BD competition and training activity to return in England from 29th March

The outline plans for easing out of lockdown have now been announced by the governments in England and Scotland.  Organised competition and training activity will be able to return in England from 29th March, although in Scotland it is likely to be April before we will see a return to action.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the government’s roadmap for the easing of the current lockdown in England yesterday and confirmed that organised sport can restart from 29 March onwards.  BD organised training and competition activity will therefore get back underway in England from this date, in line with the COVID protocols previously put in place, while all equestrian venues will be able to re-open for facility hire.

A number of steps were detailed, with indicative dates set at five week intervals.  The lifting of restrictions at each stage will be dependent on meeting criteria around infection rates and the continued success of the vaccination programme, as well as an assessment of risks for any new coronavirus variants.

As an overview, we’ve listed the key steps for England and what that means for BD activity:

Step One – Part A                                                                                                                            From 8 March

  • Two people can meet outdoors to socialise, not just for exercise purposes.

Coaches can continue to travel for one-to-one training activity in private facilities or livery yards where the horse resides.  Members can continue to travel to where their horse resides to look after their welfare, including for exercise.


Step One – Part B                                                                                                                            From 29 March

  • Groups of up to six people or two households can meet outdoors
  • Outdoor sports facilities will be able to re-open and organised sport can resume
  • Stay at home order will be lifted, although people will still be encouraged to stay local.

BD organised competition training and activity will resume in England from this date onwards.  All equestrian centres and riding schools will be allowed to re-open, with arena hire again permitted.


Step Two                                                                                                                                             From 12 April

  • Non-essential retail can re-open, including hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons
  • Indoor gyms and leisure facilities, libraries, zoos and theme parks can re-open
  • Food and drink can be served outdoors in pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes
  • Self-contained accommodation can re-open and self-catering holidays permitted.

From this stage onwards, you will be able to stay away from home in your own facilities or in self-catering accommodation in order to attend multi-day shows and competitions.  On-site retail shops and trade stands will be permitted to re-open at venues, while catering outlets will be able to serve food and drinks outside, not just for takeaway.


Step Three                                                                                                                                          From 17 May

  • Most social contact restrictions lifted outdoors
  • Groups of up to 30 people are permitted outdoors
  • Up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors
  • Indoor hospitality can re-open, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs
  • Large indoor sporting events will be allowed, with a capacity of 1,000 people
  • Outdoor sporting events will have a maximum capacity of 50%, or up to 4,000 people.

At this point, we anticipate that spectators will again be allowed to attend competitions and shows, although numbers may still be limited depending on the size of venue.  On-site catering outlets may serve meals indoors. Restrictions on international travel will potentially be lifted from this date, which would allow riders to attend overseas shows to compete.


Step Four                                                                                                                                            From 21 June    

  • All legal limits on social contact removed
  • Restrictions on large events will be lifted.

All shows, training and regional camps can resume as normal, although the government will be reviewing social distancing rules, the mandatory use of face masks and other testing provisions at this stage, prior to lifting restrictions.