Plan Ahead: The Horse of the Year Show

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The Independent Online
The Horse of the Year Show, held under cover at Wembley Arena, has made its popular mark as the end-of-season show jumping championship since the first Show was staged in 1949 at Harringay. This year's event runs from 7 to 11 October.

The Show moved to its present home in 1958 and has grown to the biggest show jumping tournament in Britain. Interest, both in competing and spectating, has increased and to cope with demand this year an extra day has been added making up five days of equestrian activity from early morning to 11pm. By the time the Show closes on Sunday evening, more than 2,000 horses and ponies will have appeared in competition and demonstration.

As the name of the event suggests, the Show is the culmination of qualifying throughout the summer. In fact, every horse or pony entered has had to qualify from regional competition. This is borne out particularly in the junior classes, of which there is a final on each day of the Show. In Thursday's programme, 29 determined finalists contest the Junior Newcomers Championship from some 18,000 starters and on Friday, 24 young riders have successfully reached the Junior Foxhunter final from a field of 17,000.

The senior show jumping classes include competition for all the national grades, but the Show offers a wealth of equine talent. Cobs, hunters, shire horses and nine British breeds of native mountain and moorland ponies are among that wealth.

Demand for the popular weekend sessions is such that the pounds 25 seats for Friday evening and the pounds 35 and pounds 24 tickets for Saturday evening have already sold out, but plenty of seats are still available, even for Sunday, the extra day.

Horse of the Year Show, Wembley Arena, 7-11 October.

Reserved seats: Wednesday to Friday: morning session (7.30am): pounds 6, pounds 12, pounds 15, pounds 18; evening session (6.30pm): pounds 9, pounds 16, pounds 20, pounds 25. Saturday and Sunday: morning: pounds 9, pounds 16, pounds 20, pounds 25; evening: pounds 15, pounds 24, pounds 28, pounds 35. Daily rover tickets: pounds 30 Wednesday to Friday; pounds 40 Saturday and Sunday. Children and senior citizens are half-price except for the Saturday and Sunday evening sessions. Wembley Box office: 081-900 1234.

How to get there: London Underground to Wembley Park (Metropolitan or Jubilee Lines) or Wembley Central (Bakerloo). British rail to Wembley Central. The Arena is situated on the North Circular road with access to the M40, M4, M1, A1 and M25. Wembley complex car park has capacity for 7,000 vehicles.

Details of forthcoming events with information on ticket availability and venues should be sent to The Sports Desk, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB or faxed to 071-956 1894.

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