Prepare to be wowed at Windsor
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This week, top riders from across the world will challenge some of Britain’s best when the Royal Windsor Horse Show hosts the Al Shira’aa CDI4* Grand Prix and Freestyle to Music on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 May, respectively.
Among the world-renowned names competing is home-grown hero Carl Hester, the London 2012 team gold medallist and a rider who needs no introduction. Having already achieved so much within the discipline, Hester will be looking to further add to his illustrious collection of medals and accolades, as he returns riding Nip Tuck. The pair is sure to be backed by vociferous domestic support.
Household name, and the first dressage rider ever to win Sky Sportswoman of the Year in 2014, Charlotte Dujardin, will be returning to the iconic grounds after giving spectators a masterclass in success when she claimed victory at the show in 2018. Teammate and friend to Carl Hester, the pair will be putting their friendship to one side as they go head-to head.
Joining the British contingent will be Olympian Richard Davison. After coming third – following Dujardin and Hester – in 2018, Davison will be setting his sights on top spot, along with fellow Brits, Louise Bell and Vicky Thompson Winfield. Adding to the British line-up will be a strong start list of international talent, including Caroline Chew, Katherine Bateson Chandler, Kate Dwyer and Heike Holstein.
British riders selected to compete:
Louise Bell from Oxfordshire with her own and Tonya Wood’s Into the Blue (roan gelding, 13yrs, s. Ublesco ds. Calvaro Z).
Richard Davison from Staffordshire with Gwendolyn Sontheim’s Bubblingh (bay gelding, 13yrs, s. Lingh ds. Picandt).
Charlotte Dujardin from Gloucesterhire with Sonnar Murray-Brown’s Erlentanz (brown gelding, 12yrs, s. Latimer).
Carl Hester from Gloucestershire with his own and Jane De La Mare’s Nip Tuck (bay gelding, 15yrs, s. Don Ruto).
Vicky Thompson Winfield from West Sussex with Samantha Francis’s Mango Jacaro (bay stallion, 14yrs, s. Rondeño IX).
Best of British equestrian displays to perform at Queen Victoria’s Pageant
The best of British equestrian displays will perform at The Pageant on the evenings of 9, 10 and 11 May, joining a host of exciting international acts. Taking place in the private grounds of Windsor Castle, the performers and their equine companions will arrive from all over the country to commemorate the 200-year anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth.
There will be a strong representation of the British Military, including The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, which will fire its famous 25 pounder guns to conclude The Pageant. A moving highlight of the evening will be a re-enactment of the Charge of The Light Brigade to Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s famous “Into The Valley of Death Rode The Six Hundred” poem, read by Simon Callow CBE, which will capture some of the extraordinary sacrifices made during the Crimean War.
Travelling from all over the country will be some of Great Britain's most talented young dressage riders who will perform an Eightsome Reel on horses, choreographed by dressage legends Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Dane Rawlins – a special tribute to Queen Victoria’s love of Balmoral and the Highlands. They will be accompanied by Scottish dancers performing one of her favourite reels.
The 90-minute show is staged by a BAFTA award-winning team and will transport the audience back to the Victorian era, drawing on some of its typical characteristics, such as the singalong Music Hall, favourites from Gilbert & Sullivan, and a mass tribute to Charles Dickens. Debbie Wiseman OBE, one of our foremost composers, has arranged and composed much of the music. Hansom Cabs, Coster Carts, Omnibuses and London Carriages, together with leading side saddle riders, will bring music from Oliver to life. By kind permission of Her Majesty The Queen, The Royal Mews will be exhibiting some rarely seen coaches and carriages from its collection.
Riders of the Land Rover Shetland Pony Grand National and the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games will enter a combined race for the first time. Representing every corner of the British Isles, the competition will be fast and furious as they race over fences and twist in and out of Pony Club games. The ‘Act’ will represent Queen Victoria’s interest in everything to do with ponies, which she rode later in life.
Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward said: “The Pageant will capture the wonders of the Victorian era through world-class displays and musical dialogue. There is an exceptional level of national and international equestrian talent involved in the show, and it is fantastic to be marking the occasion by bringing them together to celebrate this fascinating time.”
How to watch Royal Windsor Horse Show
Action from CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, which takes place from 8-12 May 2019 is set to be broadcast with an extensive live schedule allowing viewers across the world to tune in to the best that the Show has to offer.
For those wanting to watch the Show live, Royal Windsor Horse Show offers a free live streaming service, which will be available on the Royal Windsor website, with a number of classes also streamed live on the Royal Windsor Facebook page. Enabling fans to enjoy the elite international competitions including the CDI4* Al’Shiraa Dressage Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle, the live streaming platforms are a welcome addition to the Show.
The Horse & Country TV coverage of Royal Windsor will provide highlights of the week’s top-tier classes. On the evenings of 19, 20 and 21 May, the 9.00pm primetime slot on Sky channel 184 will show highlights of the CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup, CDI4* FEI Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music, and Extreme Driving.