The fields surrounding Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire will be filled with the sights and sounds of more than 40 horses and their riders for the first ever Festival of the Horse taking place across the weekend of 11-12 September 2021.
The soldiers and horses of Her Majesty's Household Cavalry - whose regiments have served the Crown for over 350 years - will make for a stirring sight as they parade in full ceremonial dress. They will be joining the spectacular programme of equestrian led entertainment from the jousting Knights of Nottingham to the fierce Cossack warriors from the steppes of Russia.
The whole story of Belvoir Castle is entwined with horses. From the time that Robert De Todeni, Flag Bearer of William the Conqueror, built the first Belvoir Castle in 1067, there has been a continuous story of horses at Belvoir, from riding horses for pleasure, sport and war to those used for transport and agriculture. It can truly be said that for many centuries, the story of Belvoir Castle has been carried on the back of this magnificent and patient animal.
Now this brand new event will celebrate these wonderful animals with a weekend of horseback skills and thrills, thundering hooves and danger defying stunts as well as plenty of family friendly entertainment.
Head of events Charlotte Whalley said: “With a late summer heatwave forecast, this is a great opportunity to enjoy a wonderful family outdoor event in a stunning setting. Whether you are a horse lover or not there is something for everyone! We’re so excited to present such a fantastic line up of world class acts which we’re sure will be a real crowd pleaser.”
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment is the ceremonial face of the two most senior regiments in the British Army; The Life Guards and The Blues & Royals. Their prestige and horsemanship takes them across the UK and the rest of the world on key international events, such as the Trooping the Colour parades held each summer.
The Dzhigitovka specialise in trick riding and stunt work in the Cossack tradition to provide a truly exhilarating display combining world champion horseback archery, spectacular fire jumping and Russian weapon drills for a performance not to be missed.
The hard-hitting medieval jousting shows presented by the Knights of Nottingham are filled with sword swinging and gut punching thrills where anything can happen and often does. Plenty of audience participation is expected for this fun and engaging display that sees the knights battle each other.
The ancient sport of tent pegging - which originated in Asia - will see riders show their skills as they attempt to remove wooden pegs from the ground with a sharp lance while at a full gallop.
A 17th century infantry display, a Living History encampment, free children’s pony rides and children’s craft activities are also on offer, while in the Main Arena, excitement will be delivered by Cavalier horse racing where visitors can lay a bet on their favourite horse and cheer them on.
With the chance to meet the ponies and riders from the UK Polocrosse Association after two teams compete in this dynamic sport, the programme has something to appeal to everyone. Alongside the action, artisan food and drink vendors and a selection of high-end shopping stalls will make for the perfect country day out.
Tickets are available at £25 per adult, £10 per child with under 8s going free. Gates open at 10am with the programme running each day from 11am until 5pm. Free parking for ticket holders is provided at the event and dogs are welcome on leads.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.belvoircastle.com/festival-of-the-horse/