05 Apr 2023

Saddling up for record crowds as Adelaide Equestrian Festival returns

Some of the world’s best horses and riders are saddling up for record crowds as the internationally renowned Adelaide Equestrian Festival returns to the city’s parklands in just over two weeks.

Event organisers are expecting crowds bigger than ever, with ticket sales tracking 20 per cent stronger than in 2019 when the event was last held.

The Adelaide Equestrian Festival is the only event of its kind worldwide held in the heart of a city, and this year’s event offers a new-look program with even more for visitors to enjoy.

An expanded food and wine offering, twilight polo, equestrian demonstrations, a range of kids’ activities, and larger shopping precinct are among the new attractions.

As the opening round of the five-star global series, the Adelaide Equestrian Festival is one of only seven events in the world held at the sport’s highest level and the only five-star horse trials in the southern hemisphere.

With the Paris Olympics only one year away, the Australian Olympic selectors will have their eyes on the Australians looking to secure their place on the national team.

A crowd favourite of the Festival, the Cross-Country course to be run on Saturday 22 April will cover 6.2 kilometres of the city’s picturesque parklands and is expected to give riders and horses their biggest challenge yet.

When last held in 2019 the Adelaide Equestrian Festival – then the Australian International 3 Day Event – attracted more than 25,000 spectators and delivered $5.2 million in new economic expenditure for the state. More than 56 per cent of 2019 attendees travelled to South Australia from interstate.

The Adelaide Equestrian Festival will be held from 20-23 April, joining a blockbuster line-up of autumn events including the inaugural AFL Gather Round, global sensation LIV Golf Adelaide, Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel, and Game 1 of the Ampol NRL State of Origin Series.

The calendar of events in South Australia in 2023 are set to directly inject around $400 million into the state’s economy.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said April is shaping up to be an exciting time in Adelaide and having this internationally recognised event back in the city's parklands is a wonderful addition to our blockbuster events calendar.

"As one of only seven events around the world at this level and the only one in the southern hemisphere - as well as the only event of this type worldwide held in the heart of a city - it is no wonder the return of the Adelaide Equestrian Festival is set to draw record crowds," Minister Bettison said.

"It will be especially exciting this year to watch the Australian riders compete in the Olympic qualifier events, and to enjoy all of the festival action as the event expands in 2023 to offer what our state is so well known for – fantastic festivals which showcase sport, local food and wine, innovation and entertainment.

"This is another major event helping drive visitors to our state and further the recovery of our visitor economy."

Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Katrine Hildyard said this event is an exciting, integral part of South Australia's sporting calendar.

"It brings so many in our community and visitors to our state together in the heart of our city," Minister Hildyard said.

"It allows SA's equestrian fans the opportunity to see the best in their sport right here at home. It also allows many others to experience the sport up close as they watch the best riders in the world compete.

"With the Paris Olympics only a year away, this year's event will potentially help to shape our Olympic team.

"I encourage everyone who loves the sport, wants to see it for the first time or who just loves all that Adelaide has to offer to come along."

Chairman Adelaide Equestrian Festival, Greg Rolton said this year’s Adelaide Equestrian Festival will attract some of the best eventing horse and rider combinations from across the southern hemisphere, and there will also be a full range of activities and displays for spectators to watch and become involved in.

"We expect the 2023 event to be the largest on record – with both competitors and patrons, as it has expanded to include twilight polo, huge kids’ precinct, pop up wine bars, and a larger shopping marketplace to showcase pet and equestrian products and services from all over Australia and the world," Mr Rolton said.

"We are excited to be hosting so many inspiring individuals and horses and are incredibly proud to be able to showcase their talents in the Adelaide CBD – ours is the only event of this type worldwide held in the heart of a city which makes it so unique and entertaining for everyone."