Over the weekend we should be enjoying this year's Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, we take a closer look at this storied venue...
Hickstead is one of the highlights of the equestrian summer with fans coming from far and wide to enjoy the British leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series.
Each July, the Longines Royal International Horse Show is enjoyed by around 20,000 visitors at the home of British equestrian in West Sussex, England. The five-star fixture has been held at Hickstead since 1992, and includes championship showing, Driving and national Jumping alongside international Jumping classes.
2020 should have been an opportunity for real celebrations with this year marking 60 years since the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead was opened by Douglas Bunn, the pioneering British equestrian enthusiast and international showjumper.
Bunn was a real character having been a successful barrister as well as an elite Jumping athlete – indeed it was not unusual for him to go into court with his white riding breeches beneath striped trousers and gown, and later go off to compete at a show, or head home to exercise horses until dark.
Bunn, who died aged 81 in 2009, became extremely wealthy through his founding of Bunn Leisure, one of Britain’s leading holiday village enterprises. Having observed that his country was lagging behind many other nations in terms of the standard of equestrian facilities, he decided to divert some of his resources into creating a new hub for the sport in Britain.
Hickstead was thus opened in 1960 and soon became one of Europe’s most celebrated venues. Its famous Derby Bank was added in 1961, and it has since staged the European Championships on several occasions as well as the 1965 Ladies World Championships and 1974 World Championships.
It is also home to several of British Jumping's most famous annual classes, including the Longines King George V Gold Cup, Al Shira'aa Derby and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.