Britain’s Love Affair with All Things Equestrian

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Britain’s Love Affair With All Things Equestrian

Where to begin?

We can trace the British love affair with all things horse related back thousands of years to when the horse was first domesticated and began life as a beast of burden and then a machine of war.

When Julius Caesar first attempted the invasion of Britain in 55 BC, British horsemen and war chariots resolutely met his forces.

As machinery gradually replaced the horse in those areas, equestrianism was born and the leisure love affair with the horse grew.

What Equestrian Means?

The term is all-encompassing and relates to activities involving horses, or it can be other equus species such as mules. This term covers both competitive and recreational pursuits for drivers, riders, and handlers.

It is a partnership of horse and human

Certainly any major or local equestrian event is ideal for sporting one of our great range of Hartwell women’s country shirts.

LYDIA Horses Head

The major events in the UK focus on showjumping and a great British love for the dressage event, and of course we have to mention cross country, which remains hugely popular.


Certain breeds of horse are often favoured and seen as more suitable for showjumping.

Britain’s inaugural major show jumping competition was held at Olympia back in 1907, and the sport as we know it today was ratified 5 years later in 1912 at the landmark event for the equestrian sport being the Stockholm Olympics, although described as a military test, the 3 elements of jumping , dressage and eventing made up the event.

The event entails an exciting mix of technical control, skill and no short measure of courage. The competing rider guides their horse over an approved course of obstacles, designed to easily fall if struck, they incur penalties or faults for causing a knock down or exceeding the time limit which has been set for the competition.


main and state stud marbach

Often it is hailed as a sport in its own right and referred to by some as dancing on horseback. Dressage is a truly beautiful event and puts horse and rider in perfect synchronisation with each other to deliver a powerful harmonious display of precision, balance and fascinating communication.

This is often the event that ladies love to dress up for the occasion. Make sure you take some photos at your next dressage or equestrian event and send them to us for our spotted in Hartwell gallery page.

Cross Country

horse jumping

Both rider and horse need to be in great physical condition for the cross-country and have an almost psychic trust in one another. There are some daunting challenges and tricky fences to negotiate, so the rider needs to be totally confident that their horse can cope with the obstacles and terrain.

Unlike showjumping, they often build these fences with stone or logs, combined with ponds and streams. Horse and rider must remain fully focused if they are to safely complete the course.

A favourite for those spectators who are hoping to see some thrills and spills, but it is a magnificent sight when rider and horse are in full flow.

If you are keen to learn more about “all things equestrian” then we would highly recommend a visit to the British Horse Society website, which can be found at Additionally, you can also use the British Equestrian website as a great resource for equestrian information.

And finally

An equestrian event is always a great day out, and we are so pleased to see them back on the calendar.

We hope you enjoyed our blog, and so much more we could write about equestrianism and the British love affair with horses, we might have to do a part two.

Why not take a look at the other Hartwell blogs on our expanding blog page, some great reads for country lovers.

Live well, Dress Well, Hartwell.

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