Liverpool International Horse Show has confirmed its Echo Arena return after a fire prompted organisers to “think long and hard about the future”.
The New Year’s Eve car park blaze, which led to the cancellation of last year’s finale, left organisers with “financial implications” to consider but they are now promising to make 2018 the best yet.
Equestrian promoter Nina Barbour is behind the event, which will be held at the waterfront venue for the fourth year running on 28-31 December, and says: “The cancellation of our New Year’s Eve evening session was absolutely devastating both for our team and all our supporters who were there to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Many of our team and visitors also suffered a great deal of heartbreak, losing their cars and possessions.
“We were so grateful for the tremendous work by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. The professionalism of our team and the staff at the arena meant that our emergency plan was put into operation and everyone, including all 150 horses stabled on the ground floor of the car park, were safely evacuated from the building.
“Given the financial implications, we were forced to think long and hard about the future of our show but with help from the arena, together with the tremendous support we’ve had from our spectators, the equestrian community and everyone involved from the city of Liverpool, we have been able to regroup and go ahead.
“Everyone has worked so hard to establish the show and we are determined, now more than ever, that it will be one of the world’s premier equestrian events. We are looking forward to being back in Liverpool and we’re planning to make 2018 the best show yet especially as we are the climax to Liverpool 2018.”
Equestrian fans will be able to enjoy a programme of elite showjumping and dressage at this year’s show, which will be brought to a close with the showjumping grand prix on 31 December, when competitors will battle it out for a top prize of 75,000 Euros.
Tickets have gone on sale today (18 April) for the show, which will also feature live music and family entertainment.