After the success of the equestrian classes at the 2013 Balmoral Show, last year’s organisers, Royal Ulster Agricultural Society have introduced a number of new equine classes to the event at Balmoral Park, Belfast from the 14 – 16th May.
The Young Event Horse class, sponsored by Stonebridge Premium Feeds, is a welcome addition to the Balmoral Show schedule. It will be judged in four phases, the dressage test and the judging of confirmation & type will take place from 6pm on Wednesday 14th May in Horse Ring 2. The jumping phase, which will consist of show jumps and portable cross country style fences, will be judged on Thursday 15th May in the main arena at 9.30am. The fourth mark is the ‘suitability and potential’ score which will be assessed during the flatwork and the jumping phases. Horses have to qualify to take part.
The qualifiers are being held at Ravensdale Equestrian Centre on Tuesday 15th April, The Meadows Equestrian Centre on Tuesday 22nd April and the last opportunity to qualify is at Gransha Equestrian Centre on Tuesday 29th April. The top five horses in the four year old and the five year old sections at each venue will qualify for Balmoral Show but if any of the top five have already qualified, the next placed horses may qualify providing they have achieved acceptable scores. The qualifiers are pre-entered and competitors should contact the qualifying venues regarding entries, which will close at 5pm on the Friday preceding each qualifier. The dressage tests are available at www.balmoralshow.co.uk and will be the same for the qualifiers and the final. As horses are unable to compete in Hunter classes and the Young Event Horse class, if they have qualified, but have already entered Hunter classes, their entry fee will be transferred to cover the Young Event Horse class and their second entre fee will be refunded.
A new Clydesdale Young Hander class sponsored by Macfin Clydesdales, is designed to assess the handler and not the horse. The judge will be judging the handler, looking at how they are dealing with the horse. They will also assess if they are paying attention to the judge and their ability to take instruction and to assess their ring craft. This class, run under the Clydesdale association rules, is open to exhibitors between 12yrs – 16yrs on the day of the show.
Diane Gibson, Chairman of the RUAS Horse Committee says, “It is important to include classes such as this at Balmoral Show as it is designed to encourage young people into showing and will ensure future generations exhibit at the event.”
2014 also sees the expansion of the Pony Showing classes with the introduction of three new classes for the Show Hunter Type Pony. These will start on Thursday with a 153cm class followed by a 143cm and 133cm. The Show Hunter type will also be given its own Championship which will run prior to the start of the more traditional Ridden Show Pony classes. Now for the very first time, owners and riders of these Show Hunter Type Ponies can compete in a ridden class for their type on the Thursday and jump a Working Hunter Class on the Friday. With a wealth of good quality Show Hunter Ponies in Ireland, visitors can expect that these new classes will be popular and competitive with riders trying for the double by winning both the Show and Working Hunter title in 2014.
A new Maxi Cob class will take place on Thursday in Horse Ring 1 at 2pm. The new Irish Draught Ridden class will take place on Wednesday 14th in Horse Ring 2 at 12.30pm with a contribution from Traditional Farm Livestock Foundation.
It is easy to see that the excitement is building up to the Show as entries for the horse and pony sections have risen by 11% this year. Qualifiers for the national jumping competitions have already commenced on 22nd March at the Cavan Equestrian Centre. Three other qualifiers are taking place on 5th April at Iveagh at Meadows Equestrian Centre, 12th April at the Kernan Equestrian Centre and 19th April at the Causeway Coast, Portrush.
Balmoral Show has always been a firm favourite with international riders and many of the top GB riders have already put their name forward for selection. Entries for Irish riders will close on the 16th April with those selected announced on the 17th April.
Further information on the 2014 programme,can be found at
and you can enter a competition here to win 4 tickets for the event: