New documentary celebrates 60 years of Hickstead

This summer marks 60 years since the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead first opened, and a new documentary on Horse & Country TV will showcase the incredible history of the showground.

The one-hour documentary ‘Hickstead: 60 Glorious Years’ charts the development of Hickstead from its inception in 1960 to becoming established as one of the best-known equestrian venues in the world. The programme has been produced by Lizzie and Daisy Bunn, daughters of the showground’s legendary founder, the late Douglas Bunn. 

Exciting action round the showjumping course is always guaranteed.

William Funnell in thrilling show jumping action at Hickstead Photo: Nigel Goddard

The documentary features many of equestrian sport’s biggest names, including David Broome, Eddie Macken, Nick Skelton, Laura Kraut and John Ledingham. Recent winners of the Al Shira’aa Derby such as William Funnell and William Whitaker reveal what it means to win one of showjumping’s most iconic classes.  

Hickstead is and always has been a family business, and in the show the Bunn family give exclusive insights into running the international shows, what goes on behind the scenes and how the showground has developed and diversified over the years. Interviews include Douglas’s second wife Sue, who shares her fascinating experiences of the creation of the venue and tells the famous story of why Hickstead’s Derby Bank is 18in taller than its Hamburg counterpart.  

Over the past six decades Hickstead has been the scene to many of showjumping’s greatest moments, and this rich history will be explored in ‘Hickstead: 60 Glorious Years’. The documentary will also look ahead to what the next 60 years might hold for the All England Jumping Course.

A must-watch for any fan of equestrian sport, Hickstead: 60 Glorious Years will be shown exclusively on H&C+. It premieres on Sunday 28th June at 8pm and can be viewed on-demand thereafter. To find out more visit

Hickstead 2020 international fixtures cancelled

Directors of the All England Jumping Course have released an official statement below regarding the cancellation of both Hickstead international fixtures in 2020.
The All England Jumping course at Hickstead Photo:: Craig Payne

“Following further government advice, it is with regret that we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel both of our international events for this year.

“These are the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting originally scheduled for June 24-28, and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ at the Longines Royal International Horse Show from 21-26 July. 

“At this time, the health of our staff, competitors, officials, sponsors, trade exhibitors and visiting public is our top priority.

“We are currently working with the relevant showing societies to ensure that qualification where possible will be carried over to the 2021 Longines Royal International Horse Show.  

“The Hickstead office remains closed but all stakeholders will be contacted directly by email and will receive a refund as per our terms and conditions in due course. Competition prizes and gift vouchers will be valid for the corresponding day next year.

“It is still our intention to run our four-day national show, the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships, from 3 – 6 September.

“We wish to thank all of our partners and stakeholders for their continued support during these unprecedented times.  We look forward to welcoming you back to Hickstead in the future.

Hickstead Derby meeting postponed

The Directors of the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead have released an official statement regarding their forthcoming season, in response to the current Coronavirus situation.
The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, scheduled to take place from June 24 to June 28, has been postponed.

Organisers hope to be able to run in combination with their national show, the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships, from September 1 to 6 September, subject to approval from the relevant governing bodies.

At present, preparations for the Longines Royal International Horse Show (July 21 to 26 ) are continuing, although this will be re-assessed on an ongoing basis.

The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead was first opened in 1960, and this season it is due to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in West Sussex was founded in 1960 by Douglas Bunn, who had dreamed of creating a venue that could rival those on the continent.

In 2020, Hickstead is due to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The showground has been the venue for several World and European Showjumping Championships.

It now hosts two major international shows each year – the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show.

Timetable for Horse of the Year Show 2020 released

 Ahead of tickets going on general sale at 9am on Wednesday 11th March, the timetable for Horse of the Year Show 2020 has been released allowing time to plan your visit in advance. With exciting display announcements still to come, you can view the timetable on the HOYS website:

Along with exceptional entertainment and displays, the first part of the week is packed with all the fan favourites including the Mountain and Moorland classes on Wednesday through to Friday, the Dressage Future Elite Championship on Thursday evening, and the prestigious Supreme In-Hand Championship showcasing on Friday.

Emile Faurie in action at a previous HOYS
Photo courtesy of HOYS

Things hot up on the weekend, as the Saturday daytime showcases championships galore in both the TopSpec Arena and the Andrews Bowen International Arena.

The evening performance is equally exhilarating with the final installment of the Osborne Refrigerators Scurry Driving Championship and the continuation of the international showjumping classes including the highly anticipated Puissance.

Sunday remains the ‘day of champions’ as the show comes to a climax with the crowning of the Horse of the Year Show Supreme Horse and Pony of the Year and the Leading Showjumper of the Year.

There is also get the chance to see the awarding of the much-coveted Prince Philip Cup to the Pony Club team who have raced their way to victory in the Mounted Games heats. Rounding off a fantastic programme of equestrian talent will be the finale celebrations on Sunday evening marking the end of another fantastic edition of Horse of the Year Show.

Set your alarms for 9am on Wednesday March 11 when tickets go on general sale through website and the Box Office: 0844 581 8282 (calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).

Disabled bookings can be made by calling 0800 640 5001 and discounts are available for groups of 10+ through the Groups Booking Line on 0800 358 0058 or by emailing









Hickstead show jumping news- and an important fundraiser

The International show jumping season  at Hickstead is only four months away, and the excitement levels are hotting up .

Hickstead has some news for anyone planning to compete there this summer. There has been a brand new development at the All England Jumping Course with annual membership giving accessto more than 70 days of sport.

From March, a professionally-built course will be set up in the 2plan Wealth Arena (the new name for the Bunn Leisure Arena), which is also used for polo during the winter months. Hickstead showjumping schooling will be open for March, April and the first part of May, ahead of the international show season, from 8am to 6pm.

The course height will be marked on the wings at 90cms, clients will be allowed to alter heights as required as long as it is reset at the end of the hour. Distances will also be marked on the sand and must be reset as before.

The courses will be designed by top level British Showjumping and FEI course builders and will be changed regularly. The arena will be hired out for exclusive use for £50 per hour, with all bookings to go through the existing website.

A Hickstead fundraising target of £10,000 has been smashed within days, as the horse world rallies round to help support showing producer Rory Gilsenan. Rory, the winner of the Charles Owen Working Hunter Supreme Championship  at Hickstead showground last July, was diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2018, and since then has undergone two operations as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Please support fundraising for Rory Gillsenan, pictured above.

Sadly, he has recently suffered a stroke that has left him paralysed down one side and almost unable to speak. This latest fundraiser aims to help support Rory and give him vital physiotherapy and speech therapy to help with his rehabilitation. If you’d like to donate, contact Hickstead

Meanwhile, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup leg in Wellington saw all-female teams from Great Britain and the USA battle it out for the honours, with the two teams tying after two rounds of exciting jumping. But in the end the home side just bettered the Brits after a jump-off, with Beezie Madden shaving three seconds off Alexandra Thornton’s time to take the win.

The British leg of the series, will be held at Hickstead on Friday July 24.

Hickstead has exciting season ahead

HICKSTEAD has an exciting season ahead, as this year marks 60 years since Douglas Bunn first opened the All England Jumping Course.

It will also be the 60th running of the Al Shira’aa Derby, which was first held in 1961. There are plenty of things in store for this special anniversary year and newsletters will contain more details.

Hickstead has an update on its Arena Polo fixtures and is taking a look at which riders are in action at the Al Shira’aa International Horse Show, There is also a prize giveaway from Equisupplies for everyone to enter.

It may be only January but Hickstead is already counting down the weeks until the start of its international show season.

Shane Breen en route to winning the Hickstead Derby

Tickets for the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (June 24-28 ) and the Longines Royal International Horse Show (July 21-26 ) are on sale now, with discounts applying on all advance ticket sales.

If you’d like to make your visit truly special, consider booking one of Hickstead’s luxurious hospitality options, including the Al Shira’aa Suite, the Members’ Restaurant or a private box. Bookings for hospitality open on February 3.

For more details contact

Georgia Tame leads under 25 British Championship Olympia qualifier

Twenty-four talented combinations competed in the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Qualifier and it was 22 year-old Georgia Tame from Horsham, West Sussex who came out on top in the impressive Olympia Grand Hall.

Georgia was on board Quintella, an 11 year-old bay mare owned by Old Lodge. Each and every one of the starting field had been invited to compete in this thrilling two round qualifier at Olympia, the London International Horse Show and they were all focused on achieving a top ten finish.

Securing a place inside the top ten would ensure a coveted spot in the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Final which will run on Sunday December 22 at 6pm.

The twelve fence track set by Course Designer Alan Wade set a stiff challenge with just four able to find the key to jumping clear in the first round whilst six of the starters jumped for just four faults to give us the top ten overall. Those who jumped clear were invited back into the arena for the jump off and two went on to bag a double clear.

Georgia Tame riding Quintella DS

Following an impressive first round, Georgia showed off Quintella’ pace and scope in the jump off when the pair delivered a double clear in 32.21 seconds, a result that they will be hoping to emulate in Sunday’s Championship Final.

Sixteen year-old Oliver Fletcher from Faringdon, Oxfordshire was runner up on Temple Rebus, a 12 year-old chestnut gelding owned by Graham Fletcher. They delivered the only other double clear in 35.37 seconds after two foot perfect performances.

Third place went to 20 year-old Charlie Jones from Lutterworth, Leicestershire who was first to go in both rounds on Dexter, an 11 year-old bay gelding owned by Ardencote Stud. The combination had just a single pole down in the jump off in 35.45 seconds.

The other representative in the jump off was 20 year-old Harry Charles from Alton, Hampshire on Valkiry de Zance, a 10 year-old chestnut gelding owned by Irina Abramovich. They also picked up four faults and jumped round in a time of 42.20 seconds.

The top ten from this qualifier now advance through to the Voltaire Design Under 25 British Championship Final which will run during the evening performance on Sunday 22nd December at 6.00pm. Faults will not be carried through from today, so each rider will start on a score of zero and riders will be jumping for the lions share of the £13,000 prize pot on offer. With a start height of 1.45m, the class runs over two rounds with the top five progressing through to the jump off before the eventual Champion is crowned.

In addition to the four horses and riders above, the following combinations have also qualified for Sunday: Jack Whitaker & Scenletha, Jodie Hall McAteer & Salt˜N Peppa, Millie Allen & Quinu de Pravia, Flo Norris & Con Pleasure 5, Scarlett Charles & Lordanos Junior and Jessica Mendoza & Dublin.



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Rory is winner of Hickstead ‘s Roger Stack award

Working Hunter supremo Rory Gilsenan was the winner of this year’s Roger Stack Award at Hickstead.

An Oxfordshire-based show producer. Rory was announced as the recipient of the Roger Stack Award at Hickstead’s Showtime Ball  on  November 16.

The award is presented in honour of Hickstead’s former Showing director Roger Stack, who died in 2016, and is given in recognition of the standout showing performance of the season.

Rory was an extremely worthy winner of this year’s award, having completed the HOYS/Hickstead double by winning the Charles Owen Supreme Working Hunter title at the Longines Royal International Horse Show in July, while battling an aggressive brain tumour.

The popular Irishman had celebrated winning his first Working Hunter title at the Horse of the Year Show in October 2018, when his diagnosis came just a few weeks later. Following months of arduous chemotherapy treatment, Rory showed his tenacity by returning to the saddle in time to win the championship at Hickstead.

Following a period of remission, unfortunately the tumour returned and Rory has recently undergone another operation. Sadly, he was not well enough to attend the ball in person, but his close friend Lee Middleton from Equine America accepted the award on Rory’s behalf.

Rory Gilsenan, winner of Hickstead’s Roger Stack Award

“We cannot think of a more deserving winner of the Roger Stack Award than Rory, who spent five years working for Roger at the start of his career,” said Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn. “Rory’s performance this summer with Atlantic Slim was pure perfection, especially considering how he beat the odds just to compete at Hickstead, let alone pick up one of the most coveted championship titles of all.”

Now in its fifth year, Hickstead’s annual Showtime Ball saw around 130 members of the showing community gather to celebrate the end of another successful season. Profits from the Ball are put towards improving the showing facilities at the showground, with a total of £9150 raised during the fundraising auction.

This year, a decision was made on the night to put the £2,000 proceeds from the raffle towards the #RootingforRory fund, which has been started to help Rory Gilsenan during his treatment.

Williams and Whitaker share puissance win

The Ripon Select Foods Puissance, the class everyone had been waiting to see at Horse of the Year Show, was finally here. Showcasing an impressive line-up of international riders, including last year’s joint winners, Alfie Bradstock and Guy Williams, as well as Geoff Billington and Robert Whitaker who have both won multiple Puissance classes in their careers.

The riders did not disappoint, performing some breath-taking rounds to entertain the packed-out crowd on Saturday night at Horse of the Year Show. By round five, the 12 starters were whittled down to four to tackle the big red wall, set at an impressive height of 7ft2” (2.20m).

Robert Whitaker was up first riding Major Delacour who had never jumped a Puissance wall before tonight’s class. The 11-year-old chestnut gelding brushed off the pressure clearing the wall in remarkable style.

The win was just out of reach for Simon Buckley and Nano Healy who had each shown great courage to make it through the earlier rounds.

It was all down to Guy Williams to see if he could match last year’s win. A wave of suspense spread around the Andrews Bowen International Arena as he approached the wall riding last year’s winning horse, Mr Blue Sky UK. With experience on his side, the fearless grey gelding took off stride-perfect to take a joint win alongside Robert Whitaker. An exciting end to a crowd favourite at Horse of the Year Show.

Guy Williams has won four out of the four Puissance classes with the striking Mr Blue Sky UK, who is owned by Caroline Phillips. He said:  “He’s a really good horse and he just takes you to the fence. It’s almost like the bigger it gets, the better he jumps.

“He hasn’t done a Puissance since Olympia last year, it’s not something you want to do too often. In a Puissance it is really tempting to attack the fence early on, but I try and hold them until the last round. It’s a fun class to ride in and the audience really enjoy it which makes you want to win. ”

Guy Williams and Robert Whitaker in action Photo: Julian Portch

Robert was delighted that Major Delacour, owned by Clare Whitaker and Elaine Wood, had won his first ever Puissance: “I just knew he’d be a good Puissance horse. I’ve been riding him now for about a year and he is a very brave jumper. I couldn’t have asked any more of him tonight, he felt better and better each round.”

He added: “I’ will probably do the Puissance at Olympia and see if we can win there too.”

Ripon Select Foods are food ingredient manufacturers based in North Yorkshire. Headed up by Martin Wood, the Wood family have supported Horse of the Year Show for several years through their sponsorship of both the Supreme Horse of the Year and Children’s Riding Pony of the Year.

As a company, and a family, they are delighted to extend their sponsorship to cover the ever-popular Puissance class for the first time in 2019.

Simon is new Senior Foxhunter Champion

Simon Crippen has won the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship riding Tim Peake’s seven-year-old gelding, Premier Titanium, at Horse of the Year Show 2019.

Often described as the class everyone wants to win, Tim himself had been placed in the Championship many times, coming closest in 2010 when he took second place with Wembley III. The Foxhunter Championship started in 1954, it is one of the longest standing Championships at HOYS and its popularity is down to it showcasing the very best of the country’s novice horses.

Taking home the highly-coveted Foxhunter goblet after a difficult course, Simon was thrilled with his win finishing on a time of 38.51 seconds. He commented: “Tonight everything went my way. I had a funny feeling today that we would do well, and I was 13th to go which is my lucky number.

Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Champion Simon  Crippen:  Photo courtesy of Julian Portch

I’ve been placed in this class a lot over the years, so to finally win was a fantastic feeling.”

Paul Barker and Matt Sampson, two riders known on the circuit for being quick in jump offs, were first in but their tight twisty turns cost them unfortunate penalties, leaving the field wide open to the other combinations. Simon continueD: “Seeing the previous riders pick up faults, I decided to ride a steadier round and aim for clear, then hope it might be just enough. It was a nice smooth round and flowed well. Luckily it paid off and I’m delighted.”Simon’s last big win at HOYS was in 1998 aged just 17 when he won the Senior Newcomers Championship riding Divine Des Cabanes owned by Judy Ross.

Today, more than 20 years later, he is back on top form with a talented young horse.

He said: “Premier Titanium is a really good horse; I think he could be a real star. I’ve been riding him for just over two years now and although he has been tricky to produce, he shows great talent. He was a stallion up until this summer and having him gelded has really helped him to focus which has enabled us to progress quickly over the last few months. To win this traditional stepping stone class feels extremely special.”

Runner up in the class and placing second was this year’s Burghley Horse Trials winner, Pippa Funnell, who last rode at HOYS in 2011 winning the Senior Newcomers riding Billy Balou. With two rides in the class, Pippa’s second place was with seven-year-old mare, Billy Picador, who produced a beautiful double clear just outside of the time, finishing on 40.40 seconds.

Equitop Myoplast® is a unique amino acid supplement specifically designed to support lean muscle growth, helping horses to respond and cope with the demands of training and rehabilitation. The blend of amino acids in Equitop Myoplast supports lean muscle growth in older horses that lose condition easily, those in intensive training or competition as well as young and developing horses.