Welcome to the Festival of Hunting

The Countryside Alliance is delighted to continue its support as a key sponsor of the Festival of Hunting which returns to the East of England Showground on Wednesday 19th July 2023

The 134th Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show, hosted at the East of England Showground, welcomed 20  packs in the Modern Foxhound classes and 12 packs entering into the Old English Foxhounds classes, whilst thousands of spectators delighted in one of the highlights of the summer countryside diary on Wednesday 20th July, supported by key sponsor the Countryside Alliance.

The 135th Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show will return to the East of England Showground for the Festival of Hunting this summer, with organisers of The Festival of Hunting, along with the Chairman and committee of The Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society (PRFSS), expecting over 25 packs of Modern and Old English Foxhounds to enter. With an audience of thousands joining the packs to enjoy one of the highlights of the countryside summer calendar, the Festival is supported by the Countryside Alliance as a key sponsor.

Taking place on Wednesday 19th July 2023, the Festival hosts not only the blue-ribboned competition of the summer hound showing calendar – the Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show – but also classes for Beagles, Harriers and Basset Hounds. The breadth of hounds competing and on display makes the Festival of Hunting one of the largest shows of working scent hounds anywhere in the world. 

The top rosettes in 2022 went to the Heythrop, Thurlow and Tynedale, who will no doubt return to contest their titles this year.

Regular Festival goers will know that there is much on offer for spectators to enjoy, with a ‘Local Larder’ of food and drinks suppliers, as well as a growing range of trade stands offering options to catch up with friends and acquaintances and indulge in some retail therapy – from high-end hunting apparel through to art. Spaces are being booked up but the Festival organisers are always happy to talk to potential exhibitors.

The Festival of Hunting is also home to the popular Young Handler Class, which returns for a fourth year. In 2022, Rosie Smith from the Ready Field Bloodhounds took the championship, which is always hotly contested by the future huntsmen and women of the entered packs. This year, the class will be judged by Mrs G Gemmell and once again supported by the Hunt Staff Benefit Society and Hunting Kind.

For equine enthusiasts, the Inter-Hunt Relay championship is a lesson in fast-paced riding around obstacles, with horses turning on the eye of a needle to make it back to the start and keep their team in the ruthless ‘knock-out’ style tournament, which sees over 60 Junior and Senior teams taking part. It’s a great sight to see!

In the trailer park, the Hunt Picnic competition is a well-entered affair, with the judging panel often needing a stretchy waistband to complete their critique of the overflowing tables of locally produced dishes and drinks! Last year’s judges, local award winning food writer and agri society member Jenny Jefferies, and Country Life chief subeditor Octavia Pollock, will be joined by Alexandra Henton, editor of The Field, in 2023 to judge the hotly contested battle for the Stirrup Cup.

Alison Queenborough, Secretary of the PRFSS, said: “Alongside the new Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society President for 2023, The Earl of Yarborough M.F.H., we are thrilled to have plans well underway for this year, with tickets going on sale this Spring. The Festival of Hunting at Peterborough is always such a well-supported social event for the rural community, as well as the highlight of the foxhound showing season.”

“We can also announce the 2023 Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show judges are M J Ramsden Esq. M.F.H. and O M Dale Esq judging the Dog Hounds, whilst C C Frampton Esq. M.F.H. and G. Watchman Esq will judge the Bitch Hounds. The Old English Hounds will be judged by A D Osborne Esq. and J Holliday Esq. 

“Alongside his family and friends, and the wider hunting community, we will extend a particularly warm welcome to the Old English judge, Mr Andrew Osborne – who is on the PRFSS General Committee and Chairman at the MFHA – he recently completed crossing the Atlantic on a solo row, raising funds in memory of his late daughter.  We are in awe of Mr Osborne on this incredible undertaking and look forward to welcoming him to Peterborough.”

Admission to the Festival of Hunting will be by prior online ticket sales only with tickets now available.   

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