Horse show attracts huge crowds

HORSE riders were champing at the bit yesterday to take part in the largest and oldest horse show in East Anglia.There was a sudden surge of late entries in the last week of April and also during the packed programme of events for the Woodbridge Horse Show at the Suffolk Showground in Ipswich.

HORSE riders were champing at the bit yesterday to take part in the largest and oldest horse show in East Anglia.

There was a sudden surge of late entries in the last week of April and also during the packed programme of events for the Woodbridge Horse Show at the Suffolk Showground in Ipswich.

The organisers and volunteers who arrived from 5.45am onwards were greeted by leaden skies and rain - but the weather cleared and as the sun shone thousands of people entered the showground to enjoy the extensive range of equine events.

Auriol Wilson, the show's president, said: ''The Woodbridge Horse Show has developed into an East Anglian tradition as it is the first exhibition of the Suffolk Horse season. The show receives tremendous support from riders and spectators alike and has become a very successful show.


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''The large variety of breeds and the main ring attractions combined with interesting sales stands provide something for all the family.''

Mark Donsworth, show director, said: ''We took about 150 late entries in the last week and we have had a lot more this morning and the public too are streaming in.

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''This is mainly a horse show but what we try and do every year is to have a friendly atmosphere and people like the wide open spaces here, the families can come and feel safe, and everyone enjoys the day.

''I think that the beauty of the show is that it has such a diverse range of classes from family pony to dressage. We have 150 helpers and they come from far and wide - we even have a steward who comes from Yorkshire to help.

''For the first time we have had commentary with the Suffolk horses so that people can learn about what is going on. I feel it is very important that we tell people rather than just have a few horses walking round the ring.''

The helpers included members of Woodbridge and District Lions Club who were on hand to help with the management of parking and traffic and they spent more than 12 hours at the showground. The club will receive a donation in recognition of its support which will go to a charitable cause. Members of the Hollesley group of Riding for the Disabled also volunteered at the entrance gate and parking.

The original purpose of the show, when it was formed in 1871, was to encourage horse breeding. Stallions were paraded so that owners could select one for their mare.

n For full show results, see tomorrow's EADT.

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