Organisers have been busily watering the equestrian rings ahead of next month’s Moreton Show, where the Olympic gold medallist and British equestrian favourite, Gloucestershire’s Carl Hester will enjoy something of a homecoming when he lines up as one of the judges.
Hester will be at the show on Saturday, September 1 to pick out the Supreme Champion horse and pony in a competition sponsored by Mypower Solar, providers of award winning solar PV systems which allow businesses to generate their own electricity from the roof of their commercial or agricultural building, saving 65% on their energy bills.
Hester, who won team gold at London 2012 and a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016, said: ‘I competed at Moreton Show when I lived in the area so it is a great thrill to be going back 30 years later as a judge.
‘I’m looking forward to coming to a real country show because this is where you see so much enthusiasm in the ring. I know that the level of competition will be really high too.’
Hester, whose yard is at Newent, will be judging alongside Rosemary, Lady Northampton. The two judges have known each other since Hester lived in the north Cotswolds.
She said: ‘Moreton is a wonderful show, with horses coming from all over the country to compete in one of the last qualifiers for the Horse of the Year Show. Having Carl as one of the judges is quite a coup and I’m very much looking forward to spending the day with him.’
The quality of the competition is paramount, which is why Moreton Show organisers have been watering the showground to offset the effects of the summer heatwave on the Batsford Estate. Tankers carrying processed water have been spraying the four equestrian rings, including the Grand Arena. The ground has also been spiked and liquid nitrogen added to stimulate grass growth. If there is no significant rainfall between now and the end of the month, the watering of the showground will go on until show day.
Edward Hicks, the Moreton Show vice-chairman said: ‘It has been a very difficult time because of the number of weeks without significant rain and we are doing our best to make the going as good as it possibly can be in exceptional circumstances. We are sensitive to the situation and have sourced recycled water which is not fit for drinking.’
Liz Day, the Horse Secretary, added: ‘I’ve been here for 14 years and we’ve never had to water to this extent before. The aim is to soften the ground for the horses and we believe the move has gone down very well with competitors.’
In what is a celebration of country life, Moreton Show has more than 2,000 animals either on show or in competition as well as 350 trade stands and the dare-devil stunt rider, Matt Coulter – aka the Kangaroo Kid, from Australia’s Gold Coast – who tops the bill in the Grand Arena.
Moreton Show will also play its part in marking the 100th anniversary of the RAF with a Spitfire flypast over the Batsford Estate showground, courtesy of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
All the details and tickets are at www.moretonshow.co.uk