Four-hundred horses and ponies, 800 tonnes of equine surfacing and 12 months of planning – all play a part in bringing the curtain up on the TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show. The sensational four-day event – which is held at the M&S Bank Arena located at the historic Docks from the 28th – 31st December – is an equestrian event with a difference. Not only does the show offer the very best in equestrian sport, but also a jampacked programme of spectacular entertainment for the whole family – from a captivating LED bikes display to live music.
Returning for its fifth and most exciting year, the event brings its biggest and best-ever line-up to the M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, from 28th-31st December – culminating in a New Year’s Eve party like no other.
To stage a show of this size and get 400 horses into the city-centre, it’s no surprise that a tremendous amount of work is required, as Show President, Nina Barbour, explains: “Planning for this year’s event began on 1st January – the moment last year’s show ended, we were straight on to the next one.
“We have a core team of around 25 people working on the planning, but the total number involved is actually 250. It takes around seven working days to prepare the venue – and 800 tonnes of specialist equestrian surface are shipped in for the horses to compete on.
“Logistically, getting 400 horses into a city-centre is a huge challenge but it’s something we have done for the last 4 years so we know what to expect. However, there are always unforeseen circumstances and hurdles to overcome. Over half the horses and riders will have a very quick Christmas because they’ll be driving from all over Europe via the Channel Tunnel to be at the M&S Bank Arena ready for the vet check on 27th December.”
Offering spectators the chance to experience world-class showjumping and equestrian sport, the TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show brings some of the finest horses and riders in the world to the North West and getting them to the historic Docks is no mean feat.
But what sets the renowned show apart from other equestrian events is its broad range of entertainment. New for 2019 is the high-tech, high-energy LED FMX Bikes display, which promises an intensely choreographed live show with an intoxicating mix of stunts, lights, lasers and drama. Plus, music fans are guaranteed to be up and dancing with The Kings and their unique blend of uplifting rock.
Nina says: “We’ve scoured the world to bring the very best of entertainment to Liverpool. We’re constantly on the lookout to ensure we bring the best talent, so we can offer a unique show every year.
“The audience at Liverpool is really interesting. Many of them aren’t horsey at all but it’s amazing how much they appreciate the skill and talent of the horses and riders. The sport is relatively easy to understand, and the audience gets behind the horses and riders.”
New Year’s Eve will see an awe-inspiring evening of entertainment, building up to a magnificent indoor firework display as the clocks strike midnight.
And there will be plenty to keep young ones entertained over the four days thanks to the show’s very own Kids Zone, run by family publication and events company, ParentFolk. This exciting area will be packed with engaging creative workshops including screen printing, a temporary tattoos station, family selfie competition popup, and lots more.
Added to this is a mouth-watering selection of food and drink, offering something for everyone, while the shopping village provides a huge range of equestrian and lifestyle outlets.
For horse enthusiasts, the impressive line-up includes the world premiere of Magnetism – an innovative mix of equestrian and performing arts, featuring acrobatics, dance, aerial stunts and music.
A number of firm favourites return this year, including Knockout – Battle of the Sexes, and the fast and furious Shetland Pony Grand National. Spectators can also witness the finest horses and riders competing in the final leg of the Eventing Grand Prix.
Nina adds: “The Shetland event is a family favourite and we love the connection with the iconic Aintree Racecourse, nearby.”
The TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show returns from 28th-31st December, with tickets priced from £17.70 per person for a family (minimum of four, with two adults and two children under 14).