You should be.
With only a matter of days now until The Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (21st - 24th June 2018) gets under way for 2018, the Hickstead hysteria is beginning to kick in over here!
Hickstead has always been a must-attend event annually for me given that I live locally. As a little girl I was in absolute awe of the horses and their riders seeming to effortlessly fly round a course of jumps that at that age seemed ginormous. Now that I am 'all grown-up', not much has changed. I am perhaps even more in awe now of the combinations taking to the course across the event because, as a rider I am acutely aware of the immense skill, grit and determination to be even a half-decent rider.
This year, I have the utter privilege of being invited to cover the event across In The Country's social channels and I cannot wait! If you have never been to the The Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, I would urge you to head down next week and soak up the incredible atmosphere.
Whilst the show is renowned for the All England Jumping Course and the international rider's it attracts, the show has jumping classes from 90cm up to World Ranking Classes, with classes for grassroots riders and young/novice horses too.
As someone local to the area, these smaller classes often consist of friends and their horses giving it their all and so for me, this makes the whole event just that little bit more special. We find ourselves cheering on the various amateur combinations from the ringside, breathing sighs of relief when both horse and rider make it home clear.
The big feature classes are the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard (Thursday), the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial (Friday – qualifier for the Derby itself), followed by the British Speed Derby (Saturday) and culminating in the Al Shira’aa Derby on the Sunday.
This meeting is four action packed days, perfect for those who love horses!
Whilst ultimately the jumping is the most iconic draw to this month's meeting, I thoroughly enjoy the showing classes and they are certainly not to be missed.
With Showing classes including sections for cobs, riding horses, small hunters, mountain and moorlands, ridden hunters and coloured horses, plus the prestigious RoR Tattersalls Show Series Championship for retrained racehorses.
There really is something for everyone at this meeting. You'll most likely find me at the showing ring throughout the event as this is my favourite part!
Horses aside, there is so much more to see and do at Hickstead. There are over 150 trade stands exhibiting in the Charles Owen Shopping Village and unless you want to spend a fortune - I would leave your card at home!! Everything looks so lovely and the temptation often proves too much! Us equestrians sure know how to dress (and shop!)!
Make sure you treat yourself to a cheese toastie in the morning AND some chocolate strawberries before you head home. I can't attend the Derby Meeting without them - for me, it has become an annual thing!
The Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby course has some famous jumps which always have us on the edge of our seats, clinging on with knuckles turning white. Forgetting to breath whilst you watch a horse and rider tackle the course is a common occurrence. You'll most likely have heard of the Derby Bank, the Devil’s Dyke and the double of water ditches which often provide us with a handful of thrills and spills to watch.
The show ground is situated in Hickstead, West Sussex and this year there is FREE admission on the Thursday (21st June 2018) - what a great excuse to head down and experience one of the most famous horse shows in the world! Tickets are available to buy on the gate and also little ones under five go free. I can safely say, I enjoyed it then, when I was a little girl and I enjoy it now. I am sure you will too!
I will be sharing various stories on Instagram and Facebook throughout my days and also specific posts across all of my platforms PLUS a blog following the event. It is going to be an action packed week and I cannot wait to share my Hickstead experience with you all. For more information on the event or to buy tickets visit: www.hickstead.co.uk
Until next time...
Lots of love,