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Herts County Horse Show Round Up

The Organisers of the Hertfordshire County Show this May brought us the Hertfordshire County Horse Show. We caught up with Executive Director Sarah Moreland MBE. MA to hear how the event went and what COVID protocol’s had to be implemented along with the challenges she faced. 

The Event itself:

  • Visitor numbers as above the 6000 over the three days, plus riders, owners, sponsors, trade, stewards & judges we finished up circa 10K less than a 1/3rd of  ‘Normal’ County Show
  • Trade – weak in number but those here did ‘very well’ – some claiming ‘better than Olympia’ – a real anxiety form the traders about attending when there isn’t a ‘circuit’ to load a lorry up for / not wanting to pay staff for a weekend – we probably had about 30% of normal trade, but those who came were rewarded by visitors buying.
  • Concessions – needed an extra Ice Cream Van for day 2, bars and food sold well.
  • The only paid attraction was the Sheep Show – worked well for everyone to sit in their ‘bubbles’ and they have a full audience for every show over the 3 days
  • Other Attractions – vintage machinery (promoting their steam fair later in the year and therefore no cost to us)
    • Shetland Racing – raced all three days – desperate to get out and gain experience 
    • Pony Club Mounted Games – 4 very good teams – highly entertaining and our Lord Lieutenant took a memorial salute as a tribute to the late HRH Prince Phillip 
    • Scurry Driving also wanted a ‘day out’ so came for free

The Challenges:

  • Challenge no1 was getting it out in the media that is was a Horse Show and NOT a full county show, so sharing what you WILL have is vital – that said we have 6,000 through the gate and only 5 wanting a refund – we haven’t refunded we’ve rolled then to ’22 so they get a deal and we keep 2021 monies.
  • Horse Entries were the best ever, both Light Horse & Show jumping, we secured some additional HOYS qualifiers and even opened entries 3 days before when two shows had to cancel due to ground conditions – crazy working hours but doing all we can.
  • SJ Prize money retained but Showing money cut back – 1st – 3rd on qualifiers and only 1st money on non-qualifier classe

COVID-19 protocols:

  • Covid Team – we have a Covid Team – mostly made up of past trade stewards but in reality not really required
  • Lots of banners stating ‘Hands / Face / Space
  • Sanitiser on every entrance, ring gate way and ends of walk ways 
  • Toilets kept clean 
  • Covid team also acted as ‘crossing patrol’ for horse walks etc – it did mean that we had extra people who could be pulled to do extra tasks if required 
  • The local Council wanted lateral flow testing promoted – so what we did was send out the free link to all stewards, traders, contractors, judges and competitors and also have ‘some’ free packs on site to give out at the Stewards briefing /when contractors arrived onsite – most contractors were already testing anyway. 

Sarah’s Top Tips for running an Event this Summer:

  • Keep you event team safe – reduce number of people coming in office building, especially during build up – all wore masks
  • Get onto SAG early and work with them, our Covid Compliance Office (representing Public Health) came for a site visit – this was a game changer and he was very happy once he’d seen the site – I then updated the risk assessment following his suggestions – so save yourselves some time – draft plan and then get their input.
  • Keep a tight rein on cost
  • Just do it – everyone appreciated that something was happening
  • Give me a shout if I can help anyone – Corrie @SoE was a great help to me

Thank you to Sarah at Hertfordshire County for her Event roundup – we hope if you are planning an event this summer, you found it useful.