Record crowds gathered at Cheshire’s most prestigious international showjumping event at the Bolesworth Estate last  weekend.

More than 30,000 people, the highest numbers in the show’s seven-year  history, gathered in the blazing sunshine to watch leading riders from all over the world take part in the four-day annual equestrian competition. 

Thirteen nations were competing in the action, including major names  like British Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton, former World Champion Dermot Lennon, and eight members of well known showjumping family, The Whitakers.

But the international riders weren’t the only famous faces that could  be spotted getting involved in the weekend’s festivities.

The official opening ceremony included a performance from Britain’s  Got Talent finalists MD Dance troupe, a display of Olympians on  horseback in the International Arena and four in hand carriage  driving from World Champion Boyd  Excell.

And former footballer turned horse owner Michael Owen took a break from the World Cup action to cut the ribbon to open proceedings.

On the Friday evening, screaming crowds were entertained by a live  performance from boyband Blue in  the castle grounds.

Band member Duncan James described the experience as ‘amazing’.

“We had such an amazing time at Bolesworth – what a setting and what  a place.

“We saw the best of Cheshire and the crowd were incredible.”

 

Children weren’t left disappointed  either, with the School’s Out marquee proving a huge success with  youngsters able to learn forestry skills, how to build a sustainable  village in the grounds of the Bolesworth Estate and enjoying activities  with the Wildlife Trust.

Families were able to enjoy  hands-on fun with more than 30 different animal species including camels, reptiles, parrots and dogs.

Other events during the weekend  included the anticipated Redrow Grand Prix, with the £30,000 prize eventually won by William Whitaker,  who landed the accolade with his horse, Upperclass.

Nina Barbour, show president and  owner of Bolesworth International,  said: “My family and the team behind the Bolesworth International  want to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to Bolesworth  over the four days including competitors, both national and international and of course our wonderful  sponsors, all of whom helped create  this spectacular, world-class event.”

Bolesworth International raised  more than £25,000 for two children’s’  charities during the weekend.

The funds will go towards helping  terminally ill youngsters at Caudwell  Children and Claire House.