Blue Lights Horse Show- Our Legacy
A Horse Show for members of the emergency services evolved in 2008 as part of the World Firefighter Games with funding provided to Merseyside Fire & Rescue from the Firefighter Games budget alongside other sponsor support. Grateful acknowledgment must be paid to former Merseyside Fire & Rescue FD Kieren Timmins; West Midlands Police Equestrian team member and former Blue Lights Show coordinator Lisa Mullan and all other show organisers, volunteers and participants at Aintree International Equestrian Centre who established this unique equestrian event for members of our U.K. emergency services.
Financial difficulties saw the cancellation of the 2015 Blue Lights Horse Show and in the latter part of 2015 I took over the reins to map out a future path for our beloved show. A personal aspiration was to create provision for equestrian sport within our emergency services to be linked with charitable giving to support and benefit the communities we all serve. The PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund is our principal charity. Blue Light Horse Shows are run as not-for-profit events and donations are made each year from our shows to our approved registered charities.
During 2016 and 2017 Blue Lights was kindly hosted as part of a joint services show and supported by event manager Wayne Rodwell at Moreton Morrell College in Warwickshire. Throughout this time much work was taking place behind the scenes to secure viable pathways and funding provisions to safeguard Blue Lights Horse Show and ensure it retained its independence as a National Equestrian Championships event for the Emergency Services Riders of Great Britain.
In 2018 we invited non-emergency services equestrians to join us and created for them their own competitive league. We also gained affiliation with BRC which allowed us to open our doors to all riding club members making our Blue Lights Horse show a national event for everyone. Our BRC affiliation ran until December 2021 replaced by our own association membership for Blue Lights Horse Show supporters and competitors. We have maintained our Open riders section for non-services riders and so BRC and also non-BRC riders are all welcome.
In 2019 our Blue Lights National Show expanded further – introducing showing classes to provide a truly multi-discipline event across three days of friendly and supportive fun, camaraderie and competition. Blue Lights Horse Shows attract a loyal following and we receive fabulous feedback from our many competitors; this is wonderful and reward in itself - making the hard work and commitment to our members and competitors all worthwhile.
During an incredibly challenging 2020 as we and the rest of the U.K. were faced with National Lockdowns and tight restrictions due to Covid we were very lucky to achieve a Covid format National Championships at Solihull Riding Club and also a Northern Regional Championships at Bishop Burton College. As a show organiser - this was a certain kind of test (!); a decision taken at the start of August - after lots of uncertainty - to run a national equestrian championships in September and then - due to rises in Covid cases around Solihull - only knowing one week prior to the show date that Solihull itself was not to become subject to a local lockdown which would have cancelled everything.
Our 2021 National Championships at Solihull and Northern Regional Championships at Bishop Burton returned again - still within a Covid compliant format - but one where revised restrictions enabled a further return to "normal".
We were able to return to prize-giving and enjoyed fabulous weather with record attendances.
In 2022 we enjoyed a memorable year with our Northern Regional Championships taking place during the Summer at Bishop Burton College as part of our Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Our National Championships took place in September returning to Solihull Riding Club. Sadly - 2022 also saw a nation in mourning as we paid tribute to her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our September show took place a week after the national period of mourning concluded with our most solemn respects and lasting tribute revealed as a new perpetual award - The Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Cup - this is now awarded annually to our best performing services rider.
Our Facebook page Blue Lights Horse Show provides some lovely footage and rider insights into what the Blue Lights Horse Show means to our riders and supporters. We regularly receive great feedback and fabulous comments from returning and new competitors to our show - describing a professionally run yet friendly and welcoming event where everyone is encouraged to come and have a go and meet new friends and colleagues.
For 2023 we are very excited to announce a new Southern Regional Championships - taking place at Chard Equestrian Centre in April. Chard sees Arena Eventing added as a new discipline alongside Dressage, Show Jumping, Combined Training and Showing classes. We are due to return once more to Solihull Riding Club in September for our National Championships.
We remain indebted to our loyal volunteer show planning team, our judges, stewards, show venue hosts and all our business sponsors without whom none of our events would be possible.
We are a progressive, innovative and evolving team and there are numerous ways to become involved with us as sponsors, competitors or supporters as we move forward into 2023. The Blue Lights team look forward to welcoming you this year and beyond!
Very Best Wishes