The Annual Equestrian Event Calendar
Whether you’re a riding enthusiast, or just getting into this exciting sport, there are plenty of equestrian events to keep you entertained throughout the year. We’ve taken a look at some of the best annual festivals and shows that make up the equestrian event calendar, so you’ll never miss an event.
Where: Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire
The Cheltenham Festival, hosted at the Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire, is the highlight of the jump racing season. Taking place annually in March, the four-day festival provides top-class riding, including fourteen races where the best horses, jockeys, and trainers come together to compete.
Unlike other equestrian events, Cheltenham Festival has no formal dress code, so you’ll find eventgoers dressed in everything from dresses and blazers to fancy dress! It’s the perfect day out for both equestrian lovers and general sporting fans. If you’re new to the equestrian world, this might be a great, less formal, first event.
Where: Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire
Held at one of Britain’s favourite racecourses, the Royal Ascot annual horse-racing event is the perfect summer occasion for equestrian lovers. Hosted over the course of a week in June, this flat racing meet gives guests a taste of tradition alongside an unmatched atmosphere, making it a thoroughly enjoyable day out. Its vibrant and celebratory feel is enjoyed by everyone including the royals!
Above all, be prepared to look your best. Whilst all of the four enclosures have a different dress code, the Royal Ascot is known to be a formal affair. The royal enclosure is the most formal. For ladies, headwear must be worn, and dresses, suits, and jumpsuits must adhere to the event guidelines. For men, morning dress in black, navy, or grey, and top hats should also be worn. Out of the four enclosures, the Windsor enclosure has the most relaxed dress code with no formal attire needed, but wearing smart daywear is just part of the Royal Ascot experience!
Chatsworth International Horse Trials
Where: Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
Full of world-class equestrian sport, as well as family entertainment, Chatsworth International Horse trials in Derbyshire is another exciting annual event that you should mark in your calendar. The event hosts three disciplines; dressage, show jumping, and cross country, so there’s plenty to sink your teeth into as an equestrian lover.
This gripping event is held annually, around May, within the beautiful grounds of the Chatsworth Estate. If you’ve bought tickets and you’re wondering what to wear, smart/casual clothing or country wear is most suitable – we recommend you check the weather for this outdoor event before you go and wear a comfortable pair of shoes!
Badminton Horse Trials
Where: Badminton House, Gloucestershire
In this tough and exciting equestrian event, horses and riders must compete over three to four days in a multitude of disciplines. Generally, on days one and two, you’ll see them first show off their dressage skills. On day three you’ll enjoy a gripping cross-country show and finally, on day four, they’ll finish the competition with a course of show jumps. All in all, this is an event not to miss!
Royal Windsor International Horse Show
Where: Windsor Castle, Berkshire
The Royal Windsor International Horse Show is the largest outdoor UK premier show and provides exciting equestrian entertainment. This show jumping event is usually held annually in May, promising summer sun on the grounds of Windsor Castle in Berkshire. It is three days of world-class show jumping, perfect for riding enthusiasts looking to back their favourite horses and jockeys in the world, as well as for individuals looking to spectate an impressive and exciting sport.
General ticket holders don’t need to adhere to any dress code. However, if you’re in the members’ enclosure, smart dress is required.
The Longines Royal International Horse Show
Where: Hickstead, West Sussex
The Longines Royal International Horse Show is a pinnacle equestrian event of the summer. Held at Hickstead, another of the most famous showgrounds in the UK, this annual event held in July showcases some of the very best show jumping from across the world.
Alongside the prestigious competition, the five-day event also hosts an array of other activities including side-saddle classes, arena eventing, and even a shopping village - making it perfect for a family day out or a day spent with friends.
There is not a strict dress code for general ticket holders, although it’s encouraged to dress for the weather. If you’re attending ladies’ day and looking to enter the style competitions, we recommend formal clothing like dresses, trouser suits, and headpieces.
Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials
Where: Burghley House, Lancashire
Set within the beautiful grounds of Burghley House in Lancashire, the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials are known to be a major international equestrian and autumn social event. Once again, these horse trials test riders and horses across a number of disciplines including dressage, show jumping, and cross country.
Look to dress in a smart/casual way for both style and comfort – we recommend a waxed jacket, a pair of smart/casual jeans, and comfortable boots for getting around.
Horse of the Year Show
Where: NEC Arena, Birmingham
The Horse of the Year Show is one of the longest-standing equestrian shows, bringing together the equestrian community for five days of equestrian competition in showing and show jumping. As one of the most prestigious events in the equestrian calendar, you’ll want to pencil this one in for October. Held at the impressive NEC Arena in Birmingham, you’ll experience a buzzing atmosphere with like-minded individuals looking to watch the very best in equestrian showing.
If you’re attending the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evening shows with hospitality tickets, the dress code is strictly black tie, so pull out your very best attire and dress to impress!