The annual showjumping extravaganza that is Bolesworth is about to get under way featuring global superstars and stunning horse-power.
The CSI **** International promises four days of high-octane entertainment, headlined by six London 2012 Olympic gold medallists - Nick Skelton, Scott Brash, Ben Maher, Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester and Laura Tomlinson - coming to Bolesworth Castle, starting on Thursday (June 16) and lasting the whole weekend.
And it is not just British stars who will be out in force, with riders from 14 other countries - Belgium, Brazil, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Turkey and the United States - giving Bolesworth a worldwide showcase.
Britain’s Olympic heroes will be joined by many of showjumping’s most successful riders - revered performers like Michael Whitaker, William Funnell, Denis Lynch, Billy Twomey and Laura Kraut - in addition to rising talent like Jessica Mendoza, Reed Kessler and reigning Bolesworth Grand Prix champion Yazmin Pinchen.
Bolesworth visitors can also witness some of the finest equine talent out there, with Skelton riding his brilliant Olympic stallion Big Star, American ace Kraut on 2008 team gold medallist Cedric, Funnell aboard 2013 European Championship team gold medallist Billy Congo, Brash bringing 2014 World Cup final podium finisher Ursula XII, Maher with Florida Grand Prix winner Diva II and Lynch competing on his ultra-consistent All Star 5.
Topping Thursday’s bill, though, will be a dressage to music competition featuring the likes of Olympic, World and European champion Dujardin, who also holds every major dressage world record, Hester with his intended Rio Olympics ride Nip Tuck and their 2012 gold and bronze medal-winning colleague Tomlinson.
Bolesworth show president Nina Barbour said: “The quality of riders and horses at Bolesworth this year is truly exceptional. As a show, we have been going from strength to strength, and our 2016 event will undoubtedly continue that trend. It is a truly dazzling array of talent.”
All the British Olympians at Bolesworth will also be paying visits to an exciting new attraction this year - The Equine Zone - which introduces a fabulous Fanzone and Learning Zone.
The Fanzone will feature regular rider guest appearances across the four days, with riders taking time out to meet and greet the public and participate in photo opportunities and autograph-signing sessions throughout the day.
Visitors are also invited to join an exciting programme of events in the Learning Zone, which offers free educational talks and discussions designed to appeal across a breadth of equestrian expertise and incorporating various topical equestrian subjects. Each session includes a panel made up of experts, specialists, vets and riders.
Learning Zone sessions will take place in a specially-designed theatre within the Equine Zone between 11am and 4pm each day. They will run every hour on the hour, lasting for approximately 20 minutes.
And with the Olympics just weeks away after Bolesworth, it’s an exciting time for equestrian sport, and Great Britain’s showjumping performance manager Di Lampard will be present on Friday to talk through the ‘Road To Rio’, being joined by showjumping stars, while Dujardin, Hester, Tomlinson and Richard Davison will be present on Thursday.
Bolesworth promises an exciting mix of supreme showjumping talent, dressage to music, the unmissable puissance, para showjumping, an invitational jockey challenge and Bolesworth’s flagship elite young horse auction.
A prize fund of almost £60,000 has been announced for the final day’s headline Equerry Horse Feeds Grand Prix, and if that is not enough to whet the appetite, then show-stopping performances from pop bands Atomic Kitten, 5ive and Retake That are also in store.
Numerous other family attractions include camel racing, a funfair, action-packed displays, bistro and champagne bar, fine food, fashion and lifestyle zone, plus a shop until you drop experience guaranteed by around 130 retail outlets.
Tickets can be bought online at www.bolesworthinternational.com or at the gate.