In July 2021 the rare native horse and pony breeds on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust Watchlist have the chance to compete for ‘RBST Priority breed’ and ‘RBST At Risk Breed’ champion rosettes for the first time.

The two RBST Rare Breed Champion classes will close the Norfolk Equestrian Show, hosted by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) in association with RBST, behind closed doors at the Norfolk Showground on Wednesday 28 July 2021. 

The ‘Priority’ equine breeds on the 2021 RBST Watchlist are the Cleveland Bay Horse, Dales Pony, Dartmoor Pony, Eriskay Pony, Exmoor Pony, Hackney Horse and Pony, and Suffolk Horse. The ‘At Risk’ equine breeds on the 2021 RBST Watchlist are the Clydesdale Horse, Fell Pony, Highland Pony, New Forest Pony and Shire Horse. ‘Priority’ and ‘At Risk’ status is determined by RBST’s analysis of a range of factors including population numbers and genetic diversity. For the full RBST Watchlist click here.

The full schedule of classes throughout the day will welcome both native and foreign breed entrants. Classes will be mostly In Hand and Ridden Light Horses, with a few additional classes for Heavy Horses, Private Driving and the Double Harness Scurry competition. Visit to see the full schedule and for online entry forms for all classes, entries close on Wednesday 30 June 2021.

The Norfolk Equestrian Show will provide a great opportunity for entrants seeking to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show at the NEC in October 2021 as it retains many of the HOYS qualifying classes from the cancelled Royal Norfolk Show. The Show schedule also includes a number of National Pony Society (NPS) Qualifying Round classes, open to ponies which are registered in the main body of their respective Mountain & Moorland Stud Books. RNAA hopes that holding a streamlined Norfolk Equestrian Show behind closed doors in 2021 will support the planned return of a full Royal Norfolk Show in June 2022.

Gail Sprake, Rare Breeds Survival Trust Chairman, said: “With equine shows and competitions so severely limited over the past 18 months, we are delighted to be able to provide this fantastic opportunity to celebrate our rare breeds as well as the people, organisations and communities which support their survival. Each of our native pony and horse breeds has its own characteristics, unique features and history and each has played an extraordinary role in our nation’s history. The new RBST Priority and At Risk classes at the Norfolk Equestrian Show will really show why they are special.” 

Mark Nicholas, RNAA Chief Executive, said: “After months of containment we are thrilled to be welcoming competitors to Norfolk Showground for the Norfolk Equestrian Show. We are particularly pleased to be working in partnership with RBST and helping them to promote the importance of breed diversity and survival”. 

The event will be operated behind closed doors and in line with Government Guidelines.

Norfolk Equestrian Show

-  Due to current Government guidelines, the show will take place behind closed doors with no public access.  As per many other shows taking place this year to manage footfall and maximise cost savings the following key changes will apply: there will be no temporary stabling available on site, Exhibitor tickets will be restricted per exhibitor, 1st –6th place rosettes will be issued, no prize money will be paid for any classes.

-  The timetable, show schedule and entry forms can be found at

-  Only online entries will be accepted, the closing date for entries is Wednesday 30 June 2021.

Credit: Isobel Davidson