Faced with a pandemic, the Royal Windsor Horse Show 2020 has pivoted to a virtual platform.
In doing so quickly and with a beautifully designed platform, the organisers have set the bar high for all other equestrian events going online to continue supporting retailers, sponsors, participants and engaging the public despite the enforced shutdown.
On Tuesday 1st April, the organisers launched VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020, a new online hub, which is free to the equestrian community. This enterprising initiative aims to help fill the gap left by the cancellation of Royal Windsor Horse Show 2020 due to Covid-19.
VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 will host exciting features, the Show’s 200 shops, virtual Showing competitions, training videos, social media feeds and the best of online content from previous Royal Windsor Horse Shows and from the equestrian world at the moment.
The shops that would normally have a physical presence at the Show will be displayed on the hub, giving users the opportunity to access some of equestrian’s best brands, including the latest technical equipment, country and lifestyle collections and clothing. One of the key drivers of the “Virtual RWHS Shopping Experience” are the deals some of which will be available exclusively on the platform.
Those visiting VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 can also enter online equestrian competitions, including a variety of Showing classes adhering closely to the original Royal Windsor Horse Show schedule.
Those wishing to compete will upload their entry in the form of a photo to put them in the running, with applicants able to enter via email or social media. A Royal Windsor Horse Show judge will then select 10 finalists, before announcing the winner. The winners of each class will then progress to the Championships being judged on Sunday 17 May 2020.
To further help fill the void, VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 will give users access to features from the official Royal Windsor Horse Show programme. For the nostalgic, there is fabulous content from the archives (check this out) going back to the 1960s. There are guest bloggers, live Q&A sessions, and insights into Royal Windsor Horse Show 2021, which is already well into its planning stage.
Giving equestrian fans a central hub to find training videos, light-hearted posts, the latest updates from top competitors, and tips from other riders, VIRTUAL WINDSOR 2020 will support trainers, coaches, physios and riders who may be struggling during this time.
Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward said:
“This online platform is a way for the equestrian community to come together, it aims to support and entertain, keeping the spirit of Royal Windsor Horse Show alive during this difficult time.
“The platform involves everyone, from fans to riders, shops, competitors and officials.
“We wanted to find a way that we could support the shops at the show and engage with our competitors and customers and I’m genuinely excited to see what we can accomplish. Our hope is that it will go part of the way towards recreating the magic in Windsor Castle’s iconic private grounds that we all expected to see in May.”
Ben Buxton, Events Manager of Fairfax and Favor said: “Virtual Windsor is an exciting real and online opportunity for Fairfax and Favor to have a presence at one of the leading horse shows of the year. Whilst we may not see customers (both new and existing) in person, we relish the opportunity to connect with anyone who would have seen us, and let them see our range, including the launch of our Spring Summer 2020 collection”
The Show plans to return next year from 12-16 May 2021. Over 55,000 visitors are expected to attend the annual Royal Windsor Horse Show, which offers its audience an extensive programme of first-class equestrian competition and performances in five arenas.
The displays in the main Castle Arena are set to include The Musical Ride of The Household Calvary Mounted Regiment, The Musical Drive of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, The DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games and The Shetland Pony Grand National.
As well as the equestrian competitions and activities, there are over 220 shops in the Shopping Village, with a wide range of goods for sale, from jewellery and fashion, to food and drink. Her Majesty The Queen has attended every year the Show has run since 1943 and it is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public. Royal Windsor Horse Show is organised by Windsor Equestrian Promotions Ltd, as part of HPower Group, also organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show