May Day Family Fun At The Heavy Horse And Country Show

May Day Family Fun At The Heavy Horse And Country Show

This early May Bank Holiday weekend take the family to watch heavy horses perform traditional workhorse skills at the Heavy Horse and Country Show at the East Bysshe Showground, Blindley Heath RH7 6LF. This massive two day event will feature the largest collection of heavy horses in Southern England.

Bank Holiday Monday 6th May is also the very popular Dog Show. Do you have the best canine kisser? Has your dog got the waggiest tail? Which dog looks most like its owner? Come along with your dog to find out.

New at this year’s event is the hilarious and educational Sheep Show and the spectacular Sutherland Pipes and Drums. The showground also hosts the very popular Henfold Birds of Prey displays on both days with marvellous opportunities for families to get right up close to these magnificent creatures, learn about them and be photographed with them. Don’t miss demonstrations by the last working herd of Shire horses in London with volunteers from Operation Centaur, based in London’s Royal Parks and Historic Royal Palaces to promote the horse as a contemporary working animal, teaching heritage skills in conservation, agriculture and transportation to young people. Visitors will see these magnificent creatures put through their paces and will get a chance to learn more about Operation Centaur.

The main arena daily timetable will include the St Giles horse drawn Fire Engine, built in 1908 and pulled at the Show by Malisse and Moon, ridden Side Saddle demonstrations and The Misselchalke Gun Dogs. BBC Surrey and BBC Sussex will be broadcasting from the showground – come and meet the presenters. For the petrolheads and historians there are vintage tractors, historic military vehicles and vintage and classic cars. Treat yourself to regional goodies at the “Keep it Local” craft marquee and in the mouthwatering Food Hall. Back by popular demand are those magical Meerkats and other exotic animals to meet and photograph.

On Sunday 5th May there will be miniature horses. Learn about Coppicing with demonstrations of old country crafts. Walkabout entertainment includes juggling, spinning plates and a Circus Workshop with Juggling Jim. There is a display of milking equipment with the knowledgeable Roger Knowles on hand to answer questions and working horse demonstrations. Bank Holiday Monday will also feature the popular Dog Show, plus Agility demonstrations, the Terrier Show, Terrier Racing and also “Have Go” Agility and novelty competitions so bring your dog to join in the fun. Further details available at

Each day ends with a spectacular Grand Parade of Heavy and Shire Horses – a rare sight indeed to see so many all together in one ring and something which every member of the family will remember.

The organisers, the South Eastern Shire Horse Association, are pleased to be hosting a qualifying class for the Kilmannan Ridden Heavy Horse Championship. The highest placed pure bred Shire, Suffolk, Clydesdale and Percheron within the affiliated pure bred heavy horse ridden class will qualify for the ridden championship final at Equifest. Ring 3 on Sunday will host qualifiers for the Royal International Miniature Horse Show and the BMHS International Breed Show and all the miniature horses will be invited into the main ring to join the Parade at 4pm.

Sunday 5th May sees the magnificent working heavy horses demonstrating their skills. See the sheer muscle power of these gentle giants as they harrow the land, using traditional techniques. Their agility will also be put to the test in exciting timed trials where horses pulling harrows weave through hazards and obstacles to compete to be the fastest.

Bank Holiday Monday 6th May is showing day where the horses get dressed up in their finery. The day includes In-hand, Ridden and Driven Classes. The Mare and Foal Class is always popular with visitors, giving them the chance to see the progression from foals to fully grown horses. The Young Handlers Class gives handlers aged 13 – 18 the chance to show off their skills. The Trade and Agricultural Turnouts include Brewery Drays, Wagons and Tip Carts. All Class winners will then compete for the Supreme Champion of the Show, followed by the final Grand Parade.

“After the huge success of our newly-expanded event, we know that this year’s Heavy Horse and Country Show is going to offer all generations something a bit different for the Bank Holiday – a chance to see rural traditions, countryside activities and a wide variety of animals close-up” said Paul Bower, Chairman of SESHA. “Still central to the enlarged Show will be the ever-popular classes which show off the traditional skills and the magnificent grand parade where more Heavy Horses will be gathered together than in any other place in southern England.”

The 2019 Show will be held on Sunday 5th May and Bank Holiday Monday 6th May at East Bysshe Showground on the A22 between Blindley Heath and Newchapel RH7 6LF, opposite the British Wildlife Centre.

The charity is keen to educate and interest the next generation about Shires and Heavy Horses and therefore is offering FREE entry to all children under 16.

Gates open at 8.30am and there is plenty of free parking.

Tickets are £10 for adults on the gate and reduced to £8 in advance, details at