Rescue Equine Showing Society

Exciting New and Inspirational Show Society launching in 2024

A new, exciting and inspirational Showing Society is launching in 2024 – the Rescue Equine Showing Society (RESS) will have its official launch event at Equifest on Saturday 3rd August 2024.  Due to there being a lot of interest and enthusiasm already, there are already several shows coming on board and running qualifiers for the RESS Rescue Horse / Pony of the Year Championship, which will be part of the launch event. 

The ethos behind RESS is to encourage people to consider taking on a rescued equine and to showcase that even those horses and ponies that have been subjected to the worst cruelty and neglect can go on to lead happy, healthy and active lives and excel in many equine disciplines. 

‘We want RESS to allow these rescues to shine and to demonstrate how successful they can be’ says Cathy Hyde, founder and Chair of RESS, and ‘we also want to highlight the work of the rescuers and those that take on the task of rehabilitating the equines that have been subjected to cruelty and neglect.  Ideally it will also encourage people to consider adopting from the equine charities – for every equine that is rehomed, this makes space in rescue for another to be brought in to a rescue charity where it can undergo rehabilitation and go on to find kind and loving homes’.

RESS has been a long time in the planning for Founder and Chairman, Cathy Hyde. Cathy has worked in frontline animal welfare since 2001 when she joined the RSPCA Inspectorate Training School.  During her time at the RSPCA, Cathy dealt with some of the worst cases of cruelty and neglect, and having been promoted to Chief Inspector she also took on the additional role of Lead Inspectorate Equine Officer – deploying a team of dedicated equine officers to various events and investigations specifically involving equines. 

At one meeting where the discussion was focused on the increasing equine crisis and the need to encourage people to consider rehoming a rescued equine, an RSPCA Equine Rehoming Officer at the time, Sally Learoyd, came up with the idea of running competitions specifically for rescued equines.  Sally suggested that with Cathy’s involvement in Showing perhaps this was something she was prepared to take on. Cathy immediately thought that Equifest, held at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, would be the ideal platform for these classes, as she says ‘I had had the pleasure of Judging at Equifest on a couple of occasions and the Show seemed to be the perfect event for these classes.' 

In 2011 Cathy contacted Betsy at Equifest and was invited to meet the Committee and proposed to introduce these classes at the 2012 Show.  At the time, Jon Phillips was the Chairman of Equifest and when the pitch was made, he immediately offered to sponsor the classes, which was very welcomed.  It was also agreed that the RSPCA would bring some ponies to the Show to highlight the work done to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome the most neglected and abused animals.  With just two classes to begin with, an Open In-Hand and an Open Ridden Class they proved a great success and several of the ponies taken to Equifest by the RSPCA also found new homes.  Over the next few years, the Classes grew in number and popularity.

Past winner - before
Past winner - after

Due to the amazing response to the Rescue Classes and Rescue Village, Cathy, with the invaluable support of the Equifest team, opened it up to the other leading Equine Charities and again it proved a great success.  Without the assistance of Equifest, in supporting both the Rescue Classes and hosting the Rescue Village, there would not be such a positive opportunity for the equine charities to highlight their work and achievements in equine welfare.  Equifest provides the perfect opportunity to showcase the amazing work that the equine charities do, in rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming the most damaged rescue horses and ponies. 

Sadly, Covid stopped all the shows, and this coupled with the sale of the East of England Showground, made everything uncertain.  However, with the move to Arena UK in 2023, Equifest was up and running again.

RESS has been a long-held dream for Cathy, and it has only been since she has found the right group of like-minded and passionate people to form a committee, that the Society has been formed.  RESS is honoured to have Carey Knox as President of the Society, Carey says ‘When asked whether I would consider being President of the new association for the Rescue Horses and Ponies, I didn’t hesitate. Through the first-hand experience of seeing and reading horrific stories, I really want to help highlight what has and is going on, bring it to the forefront, and also encourage people to look into perhaps owning and loving a rescue horse or pony.' 

In 2024, in conjunction with Equifest and with generous sponsorship from NEDZ Beds, we are reintroducing the Rescue Village with leading equine charities bringing horses and ponies to the Show.  Lisa Cooper from NEDZ says ‘here at NEDZ we are proud to support RESS and are delighted to have been involved from the very beginning. Having had previous involvement in supporting the Rescue Village, the back stories of these horses and ponies are sometimes truly harrowing, and to see the transformation in them with the right care, turning them into the stars they really are, is nothing short of amazing!  To have a platform to show off these horses and ponies and the hard work that has been done is just brilliant!’.

RESS is also very grateful to Luke Rees at Hand Tailored Rosettes who has very kindly provided rosettes for all of the Qualifying Shows for 2024. Luke says ‘ all of us at HT Rosettes are delighted and privileged to be supporting RESS.  RESS promotes horse welfare and it is at the heart of all that they aim to do – showing that with the right love and care these rescue horses and ponies are nurtured and thrive which deserves to be celebrated.  We are a family-run business located in the heart of Wales and we are very proud to be supporting RESS and wish them every success and we look forward to working alongside them as the Society continues to grow’.

In the long term, RESS aims to provide a platform to showcase how rescued equines can go on to lead healthy and successful lives and to promote rehoming from the leading equine charities.  RESS will also be looking at providing training and bursaries for members from 2025, and a series of competitions culminating in the Championships at Equifest.  No membership is required for 2024 or affiliation fees for shows wanting to run classes as we want to encourage people to have a go and experience what the classes offer.  All the information required can be found on the RESS website.

Contact Details:

RESS Website: and our Facebook page.

For more information contact Cathy: or telephone 07860 885752

For Show Affiliation Enquiries contact Debbie:  or telephone 07561 260011

Qualifying Shows (to date):

  Date:    Show:
16th & 17th March 2024UK Horses & Ponies Spring Show, Olney
1st April 2024North East Extravaganza
18th May 2024Selston Equestrian Centre
25th May 2024Hambleton District Show
30th May 2024Royal Bath and West
14th June 2024Three Counties
19th June 2024Royal Cheshire Show
26th June 2024Royal Norfolk Show
6th July 2024Durham County
9th July 2024Great Yorkshire Show
13th July 2024Bridgend Country Show
25th July 2024Equine Sports UK Grassroots Championships
10th August 2024Llandi Agricultural Society
13th August 2024NCPA Leicester and Rutland
14th September 2024Usk Show
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