Equine Rescue before

New equine classes for Great Yorkshire Show

12 June 2024

The ever-popular equine classes get bigger and better every year and the 165th Show is no exception, with over 2,000 horses, ponies and donkeys competing as well as two new competitions introduced for the first time.

The British Ridden Heavy Horses will see traditional breeds more usually associated with being driven or ploughing, in the ring with their riders. It is the first time this Horse of the Year Show qualifying class (HOYS) has been held at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Look out for these giants, from Shires and Clydesdales through Suffolk Punches and Percherons, showing their paces under saddle for the first time.

Horse welfare has always been of huge importance to the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and this is reflected this year by the introduction of two new classes for rescued animals.


GYS Equine Rescue after

Rescue Equine will feature both open in hand and ridden classes for animals that have been adopted or fostered from an equine charity or rescued by an individual who can provide supporting evidence of the animal’s rescue status.

The classes will be amongst the first for the Rescue Equine Showing Society (RESS) which will have its official launch event at Equifest in August.


Founder and Chair of RESS Cathy Hyde said:

We really want RESS to give these rescues the opportunity to shine and to demonstrate how successful they can be and we also want to highlight the work of the rescuers and those that take on the task of rehabilitating the equines that have been subjected to cruelty and neglect. Ideally it will also encourage people to consider adopting from the equine charities – for every equine that is rehomed, this makes space in rescue for another to be brought into a rescue charity where it can undergo rehabilitation and go on to find kind and loving homes.

“Due to there being a lot of interest and enthusiasm already, there are already a number Shows coming on board and running qualifiers for the RESS Rescue Horse / Pony of the Year Championship, which will be part of the launch event, and we are delighted that the Great Yorkshire Show is one of them.

Both the Ridden Heavy Horses and the Rescue Equine classes take place on Friday.

Last year’s new additions, the Connemara and Traditional Cob classes are also back, following their successful debuts in 2023.

With nearly 40 different types of horses, ponies and donkeys on show, there really is something for everyone, from the mini Shetland ponies, through the UK native breeds to the heavyweight hunters, whose gallops can almost be felt from the Main Ring grandstands.

The standard is undoubtedly always high, with many of the sections resulting in qualification for the Horse of the Year Show in Birmingham in October. The Supreme In Hand championship takes place in the Main Ring on Thursday afternoon.

The showjumping classes always provide plenty of action in both the Main Ring and the Top Spec White Rose ring and all the favourites are back for 2024, including the Badsworth Stakes Accumulator which sees the obstacles become progressively more difficult on Tuesday afternoon, and the Rudding Park Great Yorkshire Championship on Wednesday.

Thursday has two great crowd-pleasers, with the Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream Mini Major Whip Round where junior riders and their ponies team up with seniors and their horses, and then the legendary Ripon Select Foods Cock O’The North Championship is bound to fill the grandstands. The spectacle continues on Friday with the Great Yorkshire Challenge in the Main Ring and a further five classes in the Top Spec White Rose ring.

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