From 28th December through to New Year’s Eve 2019, over 250 horses and ponies travelled to Liverpool Docks to compete in the spectacular TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show. The impressive four-day event, held at the M&S Bank Arena at the historic Docks location, brought an awe-inspiring show of world-class equestrian sport, acrobatics, live music, LED Freestyle Motocross shows and much, much more.
Returning for its fifth and biggest year yet, the show welcomed over 25,000 visitors over the course of four days to enjoy a number of high-octane equestrian events, alongside world-class entertainment.
New for 2019 was the John Oates Eventing Grand Prix Series Final, where World Championship Irish team and individual silver medallist Padraig McCarthy took top spot in an exciting competition featuring riders tackling both cross country fences and showjumps at speed.
On the show, Padraig commented: “I think it’s an amazing concept. It is a brilliant night out for the horse owners, and it’s a chance to be in a really nice venue like this here in Liverpool.
“We don’t get that in eventing. We are in the fields in all the weathers – that’s the sport, and that’s great – but this brings a new dimension. It is a class that really captures the imagination. There was a great atmosphere, and the crowd love it. There was a great buzz.”
As well as the thrilling eventing grand prix, there was exceptional showjumping. With multiple riders competing from the top 100 in the World, the TheraPlate UK 1.60m Grand Prix did not disappoint as the highlight on New Year’s Eve with Irishman Billy Twomey bagging a third Liverpool win in 5 years. Another crowd favourite, the Hope Valley Puissance, delivered five jaw-dropping rounds reaching a huge 2.21 metres, a Liverpool record, as the show welcomed some of the finest horses and riders in the world. The top prize was shared between four British challengers: William Whitaker, riding RMF Charly, Guy Williams on Mr Blue Sky UK and Harry Whall with Quality Old Joker, plus Ireland’s Michael Pender aboard Hearton du Bois Halleux.
Another firm crowd pleaser was the incredible double-victory for 10-year-old Alfie Diaper. Just 24 hours after the Dorset youngster won the Shetland Pony Grand National at M&S Bank Arena, he was back for more.
This time he had a partner, teaming up with Will Fletcher to land the Glenbrook Property mini major pairs after a thrill-a-minute class that saw winners and runners-up separated by less than two seconds. Alfie scorched around the track with his pony Euro Magic, and Will, riding Tiger Bright, followed suit, giving them a combined time of 50.11 seconds. Sir AP McCoy and wife Chanelle were in attendance supporting daughter Eve who finished on the podium in 3rd place partnered with Ireland’s Anthony Condon.
And it wasn’t just equestrian victories wowing the crowds, performances from rock royalty, The Kings, a high energy LED Freestyle Motocross display, as well as the premiere of ‘Magnetism’, an innovative performance combining equestrian arts and aerial stunts from Frenchman, Gilles Fortier, gave the audience an extraordinary performance with thrilling choreography, culminating in a magnificent indoor firework display as the clocks struck midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Nina Barbour, Show Director comments: “The show was a huge success; with the level of sport exceeding all expectations and an electric atmosphere during every performance. We loved welcoming lots of new faces, as well as plenty of returning guests, to this year’s event, breaking show records. Every year we’re sure we can’t top the previous, but each just seems to be going from strength to strength. With planning already underway for 2020, there are lots of ideas in the pipeline as to how we can make the show bigger and better than before.”
The next TheraPlate UK Liverpool International Horse Show will take place at the M&S Bank Arena between 1st and 3rd January 2021. To sign up for ticket alerts, please visit https://www.liverpoolhorseshow.com/.