Catch top riders in action just before the Olympics

Just days before the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, some of the best riders in the world will be at Hickstead for the Longines Royal International Horse Show - the official show of the British Horse Society. 

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The world's top eight showjumping nations will arrive at the All England Jumping Course in West Sussex for the FEI Nations Cup™ of Great Britain. This flagship event - with a E200,000 prize fund - will be held on Friday 20 July, and following last year's victory by the German team the home side will be doing their utmost to claim back the honours.

Sunday's finale class, the Longines King George V Gold Cup, is one of the most sought after international Grand Prix classes in the world. A win at the show will no doubt bolster a nation's confidence and morale just before the Olympics, so expect to see one of the most competitive fields in Hickstead's history. Olympic course builders Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater will also be creating the courses for Hickstead, giving riders a final chance to jump round their tracks just before the Games.

The international classes start on Thursday 19 July, with the Amlin Plus Eventing Grand Prix. This class sees event riders and showjumpers go head to head round a course of coloured poles and fixed rustic fences. Last year, Gary Parsonage made history by winning the class for the fourth time - will a showjumper take the honours this time?

Saturday is a very special day at Hickstead. Not only do we have the Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup, the pinnacle of national grand prix classes, but it's also Ladies' Day at Hickstead, held in support of Variety, the Children's Charity. Ten of the most fashionably dressed visitors will be chosen by Hickstead's team of selectors, and invited into the International Arena for the final judging.

There, celebrity judge Barbara Windsor will pick the best dressed lady and two runners-up, with prizes including a three-day break for two guests to the De Vere Carrick on Loch Lomond; a Jemma Kidd make up master class; a goodie bag of makeup worth £100; dinner, bed and breakfast for two at Pelham House in Lewes, Sussex; and dinner, bed and breakfast stay at Newick Park Hotel & Country Estate.

And if you appreciate immaculate turnout, the Longines Royal International Horse Show is one of the biggest events in the showing world. Six days of top-class showing culminates in two of the most prestigious titles of all - the British Horse Society Supreme Horse and the Dick Saunders Supreme Pony. With coloured ponies, working hunters, show hunters, riding horses, native ponies, hacks, arabs, cobs, show ponies, side-saddle classes and more, every showing rider will be hoping to win at the show. The showing classes - and national showjumping classes - kick off on Tuesday 17 July.

With the Charles Owen Shopping Village boasting 250 shops selling everything from tack, clothing, accessories, gifts and more, plus a fun fair for children, the show is a great day out for all the family. For those who wish to sample fine dining while enjoying a perfect view of the action in the International Arena, a range of hospitality options are available, including private boxes, ringside lodges, the exclusive 120-seater Members' Restaurant, the Beethoven Suite and the new alfresco ringside restaurant.

The action will also be shown live on Sky Sports each afternoon from Thursday 19 - Sunday 22 July.

Admission prices starting from £15 per adult, with discounts for families, children and senior citizens. To book tickets, go to www.hickstead.co.uk or call 01273 834315.

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