THIS year’s Pony Club Championships will take place in Cheshire later this month – with hundreds of young riders due to compete in front of an expected crowd of more than 5,000 over the four days.

The annual youth equestrian event, which will run from August 16-19, is being held at the picturesque setting of Cholmondeley Castle.

Organisers say it will generate ‘substantial local income’ as the 500 volunteers required to run the event use nearby accommodation, food outlets and leisure facilities.

The Pony Club, which is represented in 27 countries with a worldwide membership of more than 110,000, has 10 former members competing in London 2012, including silver medal winners William Fox-Pitt and Mary King.

The Cheshire showcase will see more than 1,800 members from across the UK – including riders from the Cheshire branch – take part in eventing, dressage, showjumping, polocrosse and mounted games at open and intermediate level.

The championships also host the finals of the horse and pony care and centre equitation competitions, as well as the musical ride contest, which sees teams of up to 12 display their riding skills to music while dressed in costume.

The Pony Club chairman Cherry Michell said: “Cholmondeley and its castle will provide a spectacular backdrop for our prestigious event.

“As well as land suitable for disciplines requiring level space, such as the dressage, it boasts numerous natural features which lend themselves to the cross-country element of the eventing. We can’t wait to welcome everyone.”

Lord Cholmondeley added: “I am delighted that The Pony Club, one of the largest youth organisations in the world, has chosen Cholmondeley Castle to host their prestigious championships.

“We look forward to welcoming area winners from all corners of the UK to Cheshire to four days of top-quality competition.”

The organisation of this year’s event is a joint partnership between The Pony Club and Musketeer Event Management (MEM), which is headed by the eventing manager for the Olympics, Alec Lochore.

Admission to the championships is free and there will be trade stands and food available over the four days.