HOYS cancels 2020 show


The Horse Of The Year Show 2020 has been cancelled, it was announced today.

After much speculation amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was confirmed on the show website today.

A statement read:

It is with great regret, that we, the Board of Grandstand Media Limited must announce the cancellation of the 2020 edition of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus pandemic.  We look forward to staging the 72nd Horse of the Year Show from Wednesday 6th – Sunday 10th October 2021, at the NEC Birmingham.

At the forefront of our minds has been, and will remain to be, the health and safety of all of those who come together to make Horse of the Year Show happen – the visitors, competitors, staff, officials, volunteers, partners, trade exhibitors and contractors – as well as our wider responsibility to support the efforts to tackle this challenge to our everyday lives.


Since the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier this year, we have followed guidelines from the UK Government and Public Health England for our processes, alongside gaining an understanding of the possible developments of the outbreak in the UK.  This has supported our thoughts regarding the impact of the potential restrictions on Horse of the Year Show 2020 and the significant preparations required to stage the event this year.


These considerations are principally related to the concerns about large gatherings, in addition to the social distancing, movement and travel restrictions within the UK.  With the probability that some level of socially restrictive measures will likely continue for several more months, it is our view that we must act responsibly to safeguard the large number of people who are involved in HOYS.  Over the last few weeks, we have also consulted with, and taken on board the views of, our key stakeholders including judges and volunteers.

The decision to cancel the event this year has not been taken lightly and is the result of considerable deliberation on all the above.  The option to postpone the event has been investigated, however due to a lack of available dates at the venue, and the continuing uncertainty, this has proven untenable.  It is our view that the most responsible course of action is to take this decision now, with the aim of providing some certainty for everyone involved in the equestrian industry and Horse of the Year Show.

Members of the public who have purchased tickets for Horse of the Year Show 2020 will be offered the option to retain their tickets for the same day and seat for the 2021 event or alternatively they can claim a refund.  Over the next few weeks we will be working with our ticketing agent, The Ticket Factory, to communicate directly with all ticket holders, in addition to contacting trade exhibitors and sponsors – please bear with us as we work through this.


Cancelling the 2020 event will come with a significant financial hit for the show, and like many businesses are facing right now, it will take many years to recover.  However, we know that with the support and investment from our valued partners, trade exhibitors, visitors, competitors, staff, volunteers, and contractors the show will come back stronger.


Sandy Anderson, Horse of the Year Show chairman, commented: “We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision and it is certainly not one that has been taken lightly; we have done so with the utmost concern for public health and the wellbeing of all those involved in making HOYS happen.  It has been on our minds that this will be the first time since the event’s establishment in 1949 that the running of HOYS has been interrupted, and this is not without considerable financial obligation for the event.  However, we have carried out extensive consideration of the scenarios and we believe that this decision is a measure of the current uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.  We believe that this is inevitably the right decision for all concerned and for the future of Horse of the Year Show. Our thoughts are with those that have been, and continue to be, affected by this pandemic.”


Emma Williams, Horse of the Year Show event director, commented: “We strongly believe that this decision has been taken with everyone’s best interests at heart, it is not only to protect public health but to provide certainty to all stakeholders given the current impact of the virus on the qualifier season and wider equestrian events in the UK.  We have appreciated the support of our staff, societies, and partners in coming to this decision. “I would also like to thank all of our dedicated Horse of the Year Show fans for their understanding during these incredibly challenging times.  It is your passion for HOYS that has made our event what it is today and it is undeniable that without the support of the equestrian community HOYS would not continue to happen.”

July 2nd 2020

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