Hickstead gets set for its 58th season of showjumping

Hickstead's International Arena. Image (c) Craig Payne
Hickstead's International Arena. Image (c) Craig Payne

This summer will mark 58 years of showjumping at the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in West Sussex.

The showground was first opened in 1960, after its founder Douglas Bunn wanted to create a venue in Britain that could rival those on the continent. Hickstead quickly became established as the home of British showjumping, and it has played host to a number of World and European Championships over the years. This summer Hickstead will once again host two international events – the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (21-24 June) and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show (25-29 July).

Around 100,000 spectators are set to come through the gates during the season to enjoy the top class showjumping, driving, showing and arena eventing on offer. With eight rings running throughout both shows, the events are among the largest outdoor fixtures in the equestrian calendar.

The Derby Meeting in June features four days of international showjumping, culminating in the famous Al Shira’aa Derby on Sunday 24 June. First held in 1961, the Hickstead Derby has been won by many of the sport’s biggest names, including Harvey Smith, David Broome, Nick Skelton, Eddie Macken plus brothers John and Michael Whitaker.

This year the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting will get underway with a ‘shopping day’, with free admission to spectators on Thursday 21 June. A new ‘Family Zone’ will be added, with half-price funfair rides on the Thursday and Friday of the show.

There is a new title for Hickstead’s July fixture, which is now known as the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the BHS Royal International Horse Show (25-29 July). There has also been a scheduling change, with the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup moving to the Friday and the show now set to close with the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ leg on Sunday afternoon.

The Royal International Horse Show (patron: Her Majesty The Queen) is the official show of the British Horse Society. The show will celebrate its 111th birthday this year, making it one of the oldest equestrian events in the world. The five-star fixture has been held at Hickstead since 1992, and it features championship showing, carriage driving and national showjumping alongside the international showjumping classes.

The pinnacle class, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™, also has a rich history, with the series dating back to 1929. The series sees countries compete as teams of four riders at a number of international legs, with the aim of qualifying for the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona in September. Hickstead forms the British leg of the series, and gives showjumping fans their only chance to support the British team on home turf.

To purchase tickets and for more information, www.hickstead.co.uk