Sidmouth FolkWeek review: Horseplay, high jinks and comic creatures

Sidmouth Horse Trials at FolkWeek 2016

Sidmouth Horse Trials at FolkWeek 2016 - Credit: Archant

Town’s first ever hobby horse trials delighted crowds

There were high jinks and comic capers as creatures of dubious pedigree hot-hoofed it to The Hub for the first-ever Sidmouth Horse Trials.

Riotous, utterly ridiculous and one of the ‘mane’ highlights of Sunday evening, the fun, free contest drew a large crowd to The Ham where festival-goers of all ages gathered for a glimpse of the elaborately costumed beasts.

Entertainment was the aim of the game in this fabulously non-elitist equestrian event in which ‘hobby horses’ – in the form of cows, sheep, reptiles, rodents, minotaurs and more – took centre stage.

Competitors each submitted breed and pedigree papers and their mission for the year should they win, before being put through their paces in the fields of ‘jumping’, ‘dressage’ and audience entertainment.

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High-octane sport it was not, but a nod back to a simpler time of comedy that delighted everyone as the animals played up to the crowd.

Prizes were ultimately awarded to the ‘cutest’ and ‘naughtiest’ animals before the ‘Beast of the Year’ and ‘Horse of the Year’ were each named.

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This new feature of Sidmouth FolkWeek draws from an ancient tradition dating back to processional animals of the 11th century. It attracted hobby horses from far and wide, which – with their elaborately decorated and cleverly manufactured costumes - made for a spectacular sight on Sidmouth seafront.

Organisers opened the revived art form up to the masses with workshops during FolkWeek and the event paves the way for the town’s 2017 Horse of the Year show.

Eleanor Pipe

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