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.