Horse owners and riders flocked from far and wide to attend an action-packed weekend at Your Horse Live where money was raised, money was spent, happy tears were shed, riders wowed and applause simply rattled the roof. Here we share some highlights.
Horsey shopping heaven
The biggest equestrian shopping show in the UK has now been and gone once more and if the photographs were anything to go by some people have got their Christmas shopping locked down. And thank goodness they did as the more bags people stored in the show’s Shop & Drop areas the more money was raised for the show’s 2016 charity, HEROS.
In a statement on social media the team at Feedmark said: “We had a wonderful time at Your Horse Live! Thank you to everyone who visited our stand. We personally designed the stand and erected it ourselves taking three days of blood, sweat and tears and we were delighted to be awarded the best stand in show by BETA this year with some fantastic feedback from the judges and mystery shoppers about our excellent customer service.”
The demonstrators wowed
This year the Your Horse Live team was delighted to be able to deliver a star-studded line-up in the BETA Arena including; Charlotte Dujardin, Lorenzo the Flying French Man and Geoff Billington, accompanied by a group of talented young show jumpers.
In her demos Charlotte covered young horse training, teaching the basics and showed some of the more advanced movements such as flying changes and the early stages of piaffe and passage. Riding a selection of horses including Florentina and En Vogue Charlotte inspired the crowd to work hard and to believe that dreams can come true, whatever your background or ability.
She thanked the crowd for their on-going support and revealed that the kind messages she regularly receives on social media mean the world to her. She also paid tribute to her friend and mentor Carl Hester.
“I've been with Carl for 10 years now and to have someone like that help me every day has been amazing,” she said before giving the audience some final tips.
“I'd recommend having lessons,” she said, “and, if you can, use mirrors. If you don't have mirrors ask someone to film you as you ride or simply watch warm ups. I've learnt so much over the years just from watching.”
Also entertaining the crowd in the BETA Arena was Geoff Billington whose demonstrations were a laugh a minute. Entering on Hovis the horse to the Hovis bread advert theme tune, his famous wit shone through. But Geoff’s softer side was revealed as the aim of his demo was to showcase the next generation of show jumpers. Young riders on 12.2hh and 14.2hh ponies showed the audience what they could do and took to the mic to commentate (in a comedic fashion) on Geoff’s riding ability.
But it was Lorenzo the Flying French Man, a first time Your Horse Live performer, who really seemed to steal the show.
With his herd of stunning lusitano horses, brought to the UK from France especially for the weekend’s performances, he showed action and emotion in equal measure.
“He was brilliant and the bond he has with his horses is unbelievable. Such a talented man and the horses look like they enjoy it. I would definitely see him again,” said one visitor.
Watch the video below to see Lorenzo's horse's enjoying a well-earned play in the BETA Arena after their final performance.
The Country & Stable Arena
In the smaller of the show’s two arenas, the talent was just as big. Jason Webb, Jay Halim, Kelly Marks and Monty Roberts were just a few of the names to take to the Country & Stable arena in front of eager crowds.
“This arena is hugely important to us on Your Horse magazine,” said Your Horse editor Imogen Johnson. “We take a long time to decide who these demonstrators will be and we only choose experts that we work with regularly and who we know our readers and show visitors like and respect. Their Country & Stable Arena demonstrations are designed to answer common training questions and to give riders and horse owners confidence in everything they do with their horses. This year, I feel that I can confidently say that all of these demonstrations delivered more than we’d hoped for and we were so happy to see people enjoying them.”
Raising money for Wilberry Wonder Pony
A short walk from the Country & Stable Arena The Baileys Equine Learning Zone played host to a full timetable of informative talks, expert Q&A panels and even a charity auction in aid of Wilberry Wonder Pony.
Speakers in the zone included Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin’s star groom Alan Davies, Paralympic dressage rider Bert Sheffield, expert farrier Andrew Poynton and of course a nutrition expert, Caroline Dickens, from the zone’s sponsor - Baileys Horse Feeds - to name but a few.
Geoff Billington, Jay Halim, Jason Webb, Monty Roberts and Russell Guire came together for the zone’s first Training and Performance Panel for which the crowds quickly gathered.
Learning aside, the Baileys Equine Learning zone was also buzzing with activity during it’s first ever charity auction. Lots including a signed print of Milton and It’s Otto, a day with Mary and Emily King, a course walk with Sir Mark Todd and more raised a whopping £2,030 for the Willbery Wonder Pony charity in honour of the late Hannah Francis.
“We were excited to add this auction to our timetable this year but not for one minute did we expect that so many people would get behind the cause and give so generously,” said Imogen. “People in the audience truly got into the spirit of things to help us drive bids up into the hundreds and our zone host Jonty Evans did a fantastic job of explaining why the charity is so important.
“At one point Jason Webb (see video below) and Jay Halim also took to the mic to have a go at playing auctioneer, not to mention offering up last minute lots for the audience to bid on. We really can’t thank everyone who helped us to raise money in the auctions enough.”
Family fun in the Redwings Rescue Village
Of course no post-show coverage can be released without mention of the wonderful horses and ponies who fill our Rescue Village, this year sponsored by Redwings.
Educating people in the work of this incredible charity and showing the amazing types of horse and pony available to rehome are just to small parts this area of the show has to play. In addition, it gives visitors the opportunity to get up close to some fantastic equines, making the day hugely enjoyable for all.
New for this year a Rare Breeds Zone also enabled people to see horses and ponies on the Rare Breeds Society’s ‘at risk’ lists. These special guests included Monty the big and beautiful Shire who was a real hit with visitors along with Narnia the Exmoor Pony.
For information about the 2017 show be sure to keep an eye on www.yourhorselive.co.uk
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