This past Saturday the 21st of July I went to the famous showgrounds of Hickstead to attend the Royal International Horse Show!
It was a very lovely day out indeed. We had tickets to the Member’s Enclosure so we got to sit in the best seats in the stands. We also had all-day access to the restaurant and a designated table to ourselves, which had an unlimited buffet of English classics, desserts, and teas and coffees. Hickstead is in West Sussex and is about an hour drive from where we live, so by the time we got there, we were starving!! The food was okay, nothing amazing, but because it was unlimited, I just ate the few yummy things over and over, like the pea and mint soup, fruit, and bread. I also ate lots of the chocolate mousse cake for dessert and had several cups of tea, as is par for the course for me at these things apparently.
Because it was pretty sunny that day, we wandered down from our covered seats at the restaurant out into the sun that was drenching the front rows of the stands. It was so refreshing being able to sit right next to the action, with the best horses and riders in the world jumping a few yards from you in one of the most stunning courses in the world. I have seen Hickstead on TV when I was living in the States, but it’s nothing like actually being there. It seems much bigger on TV but is much more beautiful in person.
Here is the outfit I wore on the day. Saturday was ladies day, but I didn’t have a hat planned out and it was a little too chilly for me to wear a nice dress and heels, so I chose something a little more comfortable. This turned out to be a good thing as we had to walk in the grassy field and mud from where we had to park the car. Shirt: Charlotte Russe. Skirt (actually a dress): Topshop. Shoes: Aldo Love the guy with the cane.
We watched the Double Harness Scurry Championship, the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, the Small Hunter Championship, and the Sky Sports Speed Classic, of which my favorite was the Queen Elizabeth II Cup as it had some big names in it (think five Whitaker’s), and there was a jump off. The water jump proved the hardest of the day, with only 1/3 of the horses clearing it. Several even refused completely, which is quite strange with horses at this level. But it made it even more interesting nonetheless!
After competition finished in the main International Arena, we walked around to the other, smaller arenas holding all different kinds of shows for competitors at lower levels. There was a jumping class, a halter class, a hacking class, pony classes, Anglo Arab classes, and dressage classes. The horses over here were miles ahead of the kinds you see in Colorado, with most being gorgeous and gigantic warmbloods. I want one! Being at the show made me really want to get on a horse again and compete.
If you’re at all into horses and having a nice day out, Hickstead is definitely the way to go. It’s gorgeous and relaxed, with some of the best horses and riders you’ll ever see. Now only if I can get tickets to the horsey events at the Olympics…