Rare horses will chase championship glory at Norfolk Showground
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Rare native horses and ponies will compete in new Norfolk championships aimed at celebrating their breeds' heritage and supporting their survival.
The two new competition classes will close the Norfolk Equestrian Show at the Norfolk Showground on July 28.
Equine breeds on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) Watchlist have been given the chance to become the first winners of the "RBST Priority Breed" and "RBST At Risk Breed" champion rosettes.
The "Priority" breeds on the 2021 Watchlist are the Cleveland Bay Horse, Dales Pony, Dartmoor Pony, Eriskay Pony, Exmoor Pony, Hackney Horse and Pony, and Suffolk Horse.
The "At Risk" breeds are the Clydesdale Horse, Fell Pony, Highland Pony, New Forest Pony and Shire Horse.
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RBST chairman Gail Sprake said: “With equine shows and competitions so severely limited over the past 18 months, we are delighted to be able to provide this fantastic opportunity to celebrate our rare breeds as well as the people, organisations and communities which support their survival.
"Each of our native pony and horse breeds has its own characteristics, unique features and history and each has played an extraordinary role in our nation’s history.
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"The new RBST Priority and At Risk classes at the Norfolk Equestrian Show will really show why they are special.”
The Norfolk Equestrian Show will also offer opportunities for entrants to qualify for the 2021 Horse of the Year Show, as it retains many of the qualifying classes which would have taken place at the cancelled 2021 Royal Norfolk Show.
The event is hosted by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA), which has decided to hold it behind closed doors with no public access, due to current government guidelines.
But it is part of a renewed drive to bring the showground "back to life" after lockdown, as it works toward the planned return of a full Royal Norfolk Show in summer 2022.
RNAA managing director Mark Nicholas said: “After months of containment we are thrilled to be welcoming competitors to Norfolk Showground for the Norfolk Equestrian Show.
"We are particularly pleased to be working in partnership with RBST and helping them to promote the importance of breed diversity and survival."
- For the full show schedule and entry forms, see www.rnaa.org.uk/norfolk-equestrian-show.