Ponies and horses of all breeds, shapes and sizes are an important part of the competitions and entertainment at the Royal Cornwall Show in Wadebridge


Ponies and horses of all breeds, shapes and sizes form an important part of the competitions and entertainment at the Royal Cornwall Show. This June’s show will be no exception and will also see a first visit for an action packed main ring equine attraction

Since the second Royal Cornwall Show, held way back in 1794, horses have been part of the event, initially as an integral part of the agricultural industry, for which the show was established to promote. Horses provided essential muscle on Cornwall’s farms, powering the industry for centuries. However, their agricultural function was superseded during the 20th century, replaced by new forms of horse power with the advent of steam engines and more so by the rapid development of tractors. But rather than disappearing from the show, the equine section remained and continues to evolve and grow.



Horses, in one guise or another, are often to be found in the show’s main ring, where visitors assemble on mass to enjoy a varied programme of top notch entertainment. This year a display by the Mounted Games Association of Great Britain has been unveiled as one of the headliners, making their first appearance at the show. Fast-moving, thrilling family entertainment is promised on all three days of the show.

The Mounted Games pits teams of riders on very fast ponies against each other in a variety of obstacle and relay type races. The speed of the ponies and the skill of the riders are breath-taking and combine to produce a colourful, all action arena display. The crowds will get involved in the action and invited to support the teams. It’s very much a competition, with points awarded for each game as the thrills and spills unfold.

In keeping with the show’s Royal links the mounted games were inspired by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Well known for his equestrianism, Prince Philip asked if the Horse of the Year show could devise a mounted competition for ordinary children which would be fun and which did not necessarily involve owning an expensive show pony. Hence the first mounted games were held at the 1957 Horse of the Year show, evolving into to a sport that today is enjoyed throughout the world.

Looking ahead to debuting at the show in June, Mary Worth, executive officer of the Mounted Games Association of Great Britain, says: “The Mounted Games Association is very much looking forward to appearing at the Royal Cornwall Show in 2014 for the very first time. In 2014 we mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Association and we are delighted to be able to add the Royal Cornwall Show to the list of prestigious shows that we have performed at over the past 30 years.

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“The all action family display will see teams drawn from neighbouring counties to the show battle over the three days to find the Mounted Games champions at Royal Cornwall 2014. So come along to watch and cheer.”

The main ring also plays host to eight nerve jangling show jumping classes that play out during the three days of the show. However, the largest proportion of the one thousand plus ponies and horses that descend on the showground every June do so to compete in the vast array of showing classes. With 190 horse classes, 45 top judges from across the UK and Ireland will oversee the pursuit of rosettes in sections ranging from diminutive Shetland ponies to majestic Shires.

For those in the know, the Inter Hunt Relay is a main ring showpiece not to be missed. The competition takes place in the early evening of the show Saturday, the final act as the show draws to a close for another year. It’s well worth staying on to witness.

It’s a race against the clock and each other, involving speed, skill and determination. Excellent horsemanship is on display by teams from local hunts fighting it out to win the competition, but most importantly secure the bragging rights for the next twelve months. The crowd are very much kept on the edge of their seats.

If you are a dedicated horse enthusiast, a casual observer or looking forward to your first visit, there will be something to keep everyone entertained at this year’s Royal Cornwall Show.

The Royal Cornwall Show takes place 5, 6, 7 of June at the Royal Cornwall Showground. Tickets, memberships, and grandstand seats, are now on sale