The star-studded Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show 2018 gets underway at Bolesworth Castle, near Chester, next week. The event runs from Tuesday, June 12th to Sunday, June 17th and attracts some of the world’s best horses and riders. Along with the sporting action, Bolesworth is one of the biggest events in the summer social calendar, with VIP hospitality, Ladies Day on Saturday, June 16th, polo demonstrations, the Bentley Ride & Drive, celebrity fashion show, Ibiza Classics and live music from Rick Parfitt Junior. Here, Bolesworth organiser, Nina Barbour talks about the event.
Which riders can we see in action this year?
We have some of the biggest names in the sport heading to Bolesworth. British riders, John Whitaker, Laura Renwick and Amanda Derbyshire will be here. In dressage, Olympic champions, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester will be riding their exciting Grand Prix horses, Mount St John Freestyle and Hawtins Delicato, which they hope to take to the FEI World Equestrian Games in America in September.
Bolesworth has attracted several international stars too?
Yes. We have Eve Jobs, the daughter of the late Apple founder, Steve Jobs coming to Bolesworth. From the USA, top showjumpers, Laura Kraut and Lauren Hough are also competing. Bolesworth is now getting a reputation as the place to be in early June and we’re thrilled that we starting to attract some of the best showjumpers from America.
HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana of Thailand, who represented her country in the Asian Games, will also be competing in our dressage competition. The Princess Nariratana is an international fashion designer and is the daughter of HRH the King of Thailand.
British-based Australian triple Olympic gold winner, Andrew Hoy will also be here. He’s competing in the the Cazenove Eventing Grand Prix on Thursday evening. From Ireland, we have last year’s Equerry Bolesworth Grand Prix winner, Anthony Condon, along with brothers, Trevor and Shane Breen.
Globally, our reputation is growing and riders like our combination of top class sport with a great social scene.
What are you trying to achieve with the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show?
We’ve always aimed to stage the best in traditional equestrian sport, with new innovations for the 21st Century. I’ve always loved the long history in our sport but I’ve travelled and competed in Europe and I wanted to bring some of the European style to British equestrian sport, where the showjumping, dressage and eventing also has a great social element of a brilliant day and evening out - somewhere you can watch sport, network and have a great time too. We’re fortunate to have some fabulous sponsors and that’s enabled us to grow and be more ambitious.
What’s the atmosphere like at Bolesworth?
I think we’re best described as being like a big day out at the races. Our show is now becoming one of the key events of the summer social calendar - like the tennis at Queen’s or Cirencester Polo. Each year, we aim to come up with something new that will complement the sport and create a great atmosphere. For 2018, we have the Bentley Ride & Drive, where riders compete in showjumping and then jump into a £150,000 Bentley Bentayga V8 to race around an obstacle course against the clock. Music is also really important to us and this year, we have the new ‘Club Boles’ which is beside the main ring. We’ll have DJs, Ibiza Classics on the Friday evening and on Saturday night, the fantastic Rick Parfitt Junior will be rocking Bolesworth. We have a big element of fun to what we do. We want our visitors to enjoy world-class sport and be entertained as well.
What about families and children?
One of our big missions has always been to inspire young people to take part in equestrian sport. We want to help to make sure that equestrian sport keeps growing and we want to make showjumping, dressage and eventing as accessible as possible. I’m passionate about encouraging children to ride. Children under 12 get free entry to our show and we also have lots of attractions for families. We have Freestyle Motocross from the Arenacross FMX crew all weekend. There’s mountain bike displays, interactive electric bike zone, pony rides, exotic animals, crazy golf, an assault course, fun fair, inflatables and our Dog Show is always really popular. One of our big draws is also the shopping, with everything from diamonds to designer shirts and with our Fine Food and Lifestyle Marquee, we always celebrate local produce.
Tickets and luxury VIP packages are available from www.bolesworthinternational.com