Reaseheath College equine students and staff have again been under the spotlight at the world’s most famous horse show, the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS), by providing the arena party for the sixth consecutive year.

Working alongside elite riders, trainers and performers, our team of 37 students have met 2016 Olympians Nick Skelton, Michael Whittaker, John Whittaker, Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin among many superstars.

The students, led by Curriculum Area Manager Kerry Owen and Equine Lecturer Jennifer Nash, supported international course designers Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater and their team of 12 professional course builders as they built courses to test the world’s leading showjumpers. They also prepared the international arena for highlights such as the showing, working hunter and dressage championships, the Pony Club mounted games and the harness scurry. Other duties included assisting Gilles Fortier and his highly trained performers, who gave a spectacular display involving precision riding, fire, music and gymnastics.

The students, who are on our Level 2 and Level 3 Extended Diploma programmes, received two days of unique training and assisted with behind-the-scenes preparation before going on duty at the five day event.  Teams supported the international arena from 6.45am to 11.30pm and in return received ringside seats and access to all areas. The students were thanked for their professional attitude and service in front of thousands of knowledgeable spectators and supporters and are already rebooked for 2017.

Bob Ellis, who was lead course designer for the London 2012 Olympics, said: “Yet again, Reaseheath’s arena party has been exceptional and has helped us to put on a superb show.  All the students have shown great team work, have listened to instructions and have a great sense of humour. They are a credit to the college and to the equine staff, who do such a great job in keeping everyone motivated because they lead from the front.

“All riders aspire to qualify and win at HOYS and it makes such a difference to us knowing that we can rely on our arena team to do a professional job.”

Alice Hollingworth, 16, and her friend Grace Browning, who have just joined our Level 3 Extended Diploma had the privilege of meeting Carl Hester. Said Alice:  “We’ve had an amazing time. It’s all been really special and not something you would do normally. “

Apart from providing the arena party, several of Reaseheath equine students were competing at HOYS. BSc undergraduate Jack Moore was fourth in the small hack class while his younger brother Harry, a Level 3 Diploma student, won the non-native coloured horse class.

  • Level 3 equine student Harry Moore – winner of his showing class!

  • BSc undergraduate Jack Moore

Reaseheath equine students also regularly provide the arena parties for other prestigious events including Bolesworth International, British Showjumping’s National Championships and the Royal Windsor Horse Show.  Our service has become so well respected that, earlier this year, we were offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to support the professional teams at HRH The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle.

The party highlighted the Queen’s love of horses and her dedication to Britain, the Commonwealth and international affairs and featured 900 horses and 1,500 participants from all over the world including actors, bands and dancers. As well as meeting people from many cultures, our students were privileged to attend the final concert hosted by Ant and Dec and featuring Kylie Minogue among many superstars.

Kerry Owen, who again led the team, received a letter of appreciation for our support from Simon Brooks-Ward Director, Royal Windsor Horse Show Director.

Arena party students add their experiences to their CVs and all equine students are encouraged to apply.

For further details about Reaseheath’s equine diplomas and degrees visit