Ladies Day at Hickstead dawned bright and clear – and it didn’t actually rain! I look forward every year to a day at the Royal International Horse show, watching Show Jumping from the BHS box overlooking the main arena, and meeting up with friends.
It has now become an annual event for the Campbells, Anne and I. We arrived just after 10am, and parked close to the trade stand area just over five minutes’ stroll from the box.
From the BHS Alex Copeland welcomed us and hosted the day with Michele Carmen. Coffee was provided on tap with plenty of refills and a splendid buffet lunch with wine and scrummy desserts. Lunch was consumed with chit-chat and catch-up. After lunch we had the opportunity to walk the 1.5m course for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
The thing that takes the breath away is the size of the fences. Distances, both related and combinations, were standard. However jumping a large spread fence at 1.40+ to a fairly short double of uprights, on a dog-leg, on eight strides, was quite a challenge. Some did eight, some did seven, and one did six! As one would expect the standard was high in everything seen – Show Jumping, Showing, Driving. The BHS Box offers one of the best views of the arena, you can see most of the arena and what you cannot see directly is on two large screens.
The trade stands were right outside and busy and offered an excellent range of horse gear covering a wide price range. There was also International Dressage just a stroll away.
The weather was kind, the food was excellent, the location at the side of the main arena was second to none and Jillie was her usual buoyant cheery self with Fab Fran taking photos. It was a privilege to be there, and slightly sad there were not more of us. Just over twenty! The price is superb for what we get, and the venue is outstanding – and we must fill the box next year.
I am looking forward to next year, come and join us for a great Saturday.
Julian Campbell July 2019