The world’s largest gathering of Shire horses returns for 2016 with a new venue and a new format.
The Shire Horse Society’s National Show 2016 will be run over three days, instead of two, and will be staged at Staffordshire County Showground from 18th to 20th March.
Expected to attract around 200 horses from across Europe and visitors from around the globe, the show has moved its ridden classes to the Friday afternoon due to the growing popularity of this section of the event.
The Friday classes will feature dressage and concours d’elegance to highlight the grace and elegance of the gentle giants of the horse world. These will be the opening classes of the show, which is the flagship event of the year for the Shire Horse Society – the only charity dedicated to the protection, promotion and improvement of the Shire horse.
The show is also moving to a new home this year – Bingley Hall in the centre of Staffordshire County Showground – to cater for increasing visitor numbers to the show, who are keen to support the iconic breed which a few decades ago was in danger of dying out.
Shire Horse Society secretary David Ralley-Davies said: “Our National Show has been steadily gaining in popularity again recently and we wanted to ensure that everyone who wants to go gets the chance to attend, hence the decision to move to a bigger and more central venue for 2016.
“Bingley Hall will also provide additional facilities for exhibitors and their horses, such as indoor stabling for the majority of horses being shown. We are looking forward to welcoming many new visitors, as well as our loyal followers and our members, to the showground.”
The Shire Horse Society, which is based at Rockingham Castle on the Leicestershire/Northamptonshire border, has signed a five-year deal to stage its National Show at Bingley Hall – starting in 2016.
The show, which has been held at a limited number of venues in England over its long history, is believed to be one of the oldest, almost continuous, horse shows in the world, having been held for the first time at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington, London, in 1880, when the charity was named the English Cart Horse Society.
The first qualifier of 2016 for the Horse of the Year Show, the event features three days of competition and classes, with horses shown in-hand, ridden and in harness. It will also include stalls and exhibitor stands for the public to browse.
The event takes place from noon to 6pm on Friday 18th March, from 8am to 6pm on Saturday 19th March and from 8am to 4pm on Sunday 20th March 2016.
Tickets cost £4 in advance and £5 on the gate for Friday 18th March. Tickets in advance are £8 for adults and £6 for under 12s and seniors, and £12 for adults and £10 for under 12s and seniors on the gate, on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th March. Entry is free for Shire Horse Society members.