THE National Balmoral Champ-ionships (NBC) were established over 30 years ago as a non-profit event to develop local equestrian talent and promote the sport to the public. Over the years, a small but dedicated group of volunteers has grown the event to become one of the most notable events of the show jumping calendar for both spectators and competitors. It attracts over 3,000 competition entries, providing classes from grass roots level for children Under 10 years of age to elite level athletes at the very pinnacle of the sport.
This year, the show will run from Thursday, July 8 until Sunday, July 11, unveiling a brand new set of fences for the impressive venue – the Main Arena at Balmoral Park, near Lisburn. The opening day will host the Coolmore Pony Premier Series, Under 10 RUAS Qualifier and a full compliment of pony classes from Newcomers to 1.20m level.
Horse competitions start on Friday and Saturday, with qualifying classes for heights 90cm to 1.30m, with finals on Sunday. For the first time, National Balmoral is delighted to host the ISH Studbook Show jumping Series for Five to Seven-year-old horses on Saturday and finals on Sunday and also the Horse Sport Ireland Four-year-old class, with €2,000 on offer and a €500 prize to the breeder of the winning horse. These classes promote top quality young horses within Ireland and provide a valuable platform for the growth of the industry.
Royal Ulster Agricultural Show qualifying places are available to be contested and Electro/ Tech Ulster Region league points are up for grabs for those following regional leagues.
To finish off this show jumping spectacular, a leg of the 1.40m Gain/ Alltech Grand Prix will run on Saturday and the top class jumping will culminate in a round of the 1.50m Horse Sport Ireland Grand Prix on Sunday.
Remember that NBC is open to all, with free admittance to the event – spectators are welcome, but are reminded to adhere to all Covid and Health and Safety guidelines. The event provides a great family day out, with catering and toilet facilities on site.
As always, any profit made from NBC is directed back into the development of the event and the sport and organisers rely heavily on sponsorship from businesses and individuals.
Show Director Ray Buchanan commented: “The National Balmoral Committee has worked tirelessly to make this event happen in a Covid safe way.
“None of this would be possible without a dedicated group of volunteers and the generosity of our sponsors and supporters. We are all looking forward to an enjoyable and successful 2021 show.”