Horse of the Year Show
The Horse of the Year Show - also known as HOYS (pronounced /hois/)- was founded to be a culmination of the British equestrian events year. Because of this, the show needed to be held indoors, making it a unique event.
HOYS was first held in 1949 at Harringay Arena in Harringay. It was held as an annual event which moved to Wembley Arena ten years later. The show again moved to Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre in 2002 due to the impending closure of Wembley Arena for reconstruction. The event has become larger and more complex each year in its larger venue, including the introduction in 2003 of an extensive Equestrian Retail Village.
Its purpose was to be a 'champion of champions' Show, and is therefore an event of stringent competition to which all riders and owners aspire. Over 120 county and equestrian shows in Great Britain host qualifiers for this huge indoor event. It is difficult to qualify and difficult to win.
Due in part to its high standards of competition and its placement at the end of equestrian year, the Show has become a national treasure in the UK, rich in heritage and tradition and is considered to be the most famous horse show in the world.
The show runs every October and incorporates a full programme of international show jumping, the British National Show Jumping finals, Showing Finals and a range of displays and entertainment including the Pony Club Mounted Games for the Prince Philip Cup.
Since the 1997 Horse of the Year Show, the event has been organised by Grandstand Media Ltd who have revitalised the presentation and content, including a special celebration in 1998 to commemorate the fiftieth show. Horse of the Year Show remains a National Institution, the finale to the showing year and the climax to the domestic show jumping year. It is a place to which all horse owners and riders aspire, as top show jumper John Whitaker highlights, "Winning at HOYS is the pinnacle of every equestrian's career."
2002 saw HOYS move from Wembley Arena, its home for over 40 years to the NEC Arena, Birmingham. Logistically this was very complicated as the show takes up over 50 acres of the NEC complex, but with record attendance figures and outstanding competition it was described by Horse & Hound as a 'Triumph' and was heralded a resounding success with sell out performances throughout the show.
Since the move to the NEC HOYS has developed and expanded experiencing record numbers visit the Show every year.
Each year, the Sunday Gala Night concludes with the emotive Ode to the Horse, read by Simon MacCorkindale.
Monty Roberts has described the Horse of the Year Show as the 'best in the world'
It is the "World's Most Famous Horse Show".