Equi-Expo(SE) 2014, organised by RAMSAK Ltd and hosted by KCAS, is a new show for The South East and its arrival at the Kent Showground attracted hundreds of visitors and scores of horses.
The Equi-Expo South East, which will be an annual event, looks set to become one of the major attractions on the equine calendar.
There was something for everyone who likes horses, from dressage events to miniature ponies, to retail stands selling everything to do with riding – including paddock-fencing, rugs, hand-crafted jewellery made from horsehair and, for those who seek the ultimate fashion, jewel-encrusted stirrups.
There were master-class demonstrations by top local and national riders. Among them was Francesca Sternberg, who runs Sterling Quarter Horses at the Bodiam International Arena, and who has been competing on American Quarter Horses for more than 25 years and has been a member of Worlds Equestrian Games Reining team for all the last three games.
Also present was Sonny Hillier who competes at international Horse Driving Trials, and who, with his horse Ranno, is in a strong position to secure a place in the 2014 Single Horse World Championships.
There were displays by the Kingsley Show Team, run by mother and daughter Alex and Georgia Aungier, and a masterclass by classically trained Portuguese dressage rider Rui Campeao.
Proving that dressage is a sport that anyone can succeed in was Oliver Walter, who suffers from Crones Disease and has had to undergo major surgery, but has still competed in the winter and regional championships and has won a place with the National Dressage Training Young Professionals.
Similarly Simon Blight has set aside the sudden onset of multiple sclerosis in his mid-thirties. Mr Blight who has been riding since the age of three, now competes in the para-equestrian classes, winning a first place in 2013 National Para Club Championships. He is hoping to compete in the next Paralympics.
The stands were busy, especially those fortunate enough to be able to bask in the sunshine, with lots of potential and actual business being discussed and done. One exhibitor has since reported that they had their best show ever in terms of business done on the day.
Karen Wheeler, Co-Organiser said “It was notable how much time the exhibitors had spent planning and building their stands. The standard was exceptionally high and all should feel justly proud of the spectacle that was created. The exhibitors who showed enough faith in the organisers to invest in this first show and have already pledged to return next year. Further representations from additional potential exhibitors were also present at the show and have asked to be included in the 2015 event.
Without exception the riders, visitors and exhibitors agreed that there is a need for a show of this kind in the South East and they will support it through its development and inevitable growth over the coming years.”
The show was a joint venture between the Kent County Agricultural Society, which was keen to build on the success of its equine section at the annual County Show, and RAMSAK Ltd, a 600-member rural and farming co-operative based in Seven Mile Lane, Mereworth.