Any horsey household knows that the run-up to Christmas can mean only one thing… Olympia’s here!
The annual London International Horse Show, more commonly known as Olympia, is an absolute staple in any equestrian calendar. Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the London Olympia Arena in Kensington for world-class dressage, showjumping, showing and driving. Each performance is also packed with iconic favourites, such as the Shetland Pony Grand National, and dazzling displays. The expansive retail village is also a must – jam-packed with more than 250 stands, it’s the perfect place for a spot of Christmas shopping.
TOP TIP – If you’re not able to visit the show, why not tune in from home? Classes will be broadcast live on FEI TV, with highlights and top classes shown on the BBC Red Button. Watch out for a full schedule nearer the time.
Ones to watch…
With so many top-class competitions to keep an eye on, we’ve rounded up all the unmissable action to help you plan your week…
Senior Showing Series Championships
A must-see for any showing fans, this world-class competition is part of the Tuesday morning session and is a great watch. After taking home reserve champion in 2013, Jayne Harper and her 20-year-old gelding, Crimewave II, bumped up to the top spot in 2017. Who will take home this highly sought-after championship this year?
World Cup Dressage Freestyle to Music
Adding some flair to the Tuesday evening performance is the Freestyle to Music competition. It’s the perfect opportunity to watch the world’s best dressage divas strut down the centre line in time to their favourite tunes, which can be anything from film scores to Guns N’ Roses! British rider Emile Faurie was just 0.15% off winner Patrik Kittel’s score last year, so it’ll be a battle to the top this time around.
DID YOU KNOW? Olympia is the only UK show to host three FEI World Cup Qualifiers in dressage, showjumping and driving.
The Wednesday evening Puissance is a firm favourite, where top combinations tackle the famous big red wall. British rider Laura Renwick was crowned champion last year with her horse, Top Dollar VI. They were the only combination to clear the spectacular 2.20m wall. Laura’s win was made even more memorable when HRH The Duchess of Cornwall made a guest appearance to present the prizes.
World Cup Driving Leg
Guaranteed to catch the crowd’s attention, fearless drivers from a variety of nations manoeuvre four galloping horses around technical courses at top speed. Only open to the top 10 drivers in the world, this prestigious competition is a highlight of the Friday afternoon and Saturday evening programmes.
An exciting twist on the other jumping classes, the Sunday afternoon Christmas Masters is a winner-takes-all competition for the seven leading riders of the show. The prize pot increases for every clear round jumped, with competitors choosing which fences are put up in each round. Dutchman Harrie Smoulders took the title in 2017, thanks to an impressive five clear rounds on his 13-year-old stallion, Corrada.
TOP TIP – The Pony Club runs a shop and drop facility, so you don’t need to take all your bags to your seat.
Morning performance from £16
Afternoon performance from £23
Evening performance from £23
Shopping village only £12
Don’t forget to visit the Horse&Rider team at stand B50 for top merchandise and more.
For more information, visit olympiahorseshow.com