NEARLY 2,000 spectators turned out for one of Gwent's top equestrian events - the biggest crowd yet, according to organisers.

And the scattered showers failed to dampen the day for delighted horse lovers at the fourth Pontypool and District Horse Show, in Pontypool Park.

Organiser Sue Malson said she was delighted with the show and the turnout.

"It was absolutely fantastic - it couldn't have gone better," she said.

More than 400 entrants from across Wales showed horses of all different sizes and breeds in Saturday's show, from farabellas to shires. "We feel we've put Pontypool Horse Show back on the map to where it was 30-40 years ago," said Mrs Malson.

The event was always an important date in Gwent's equestrian calendar before it folded in the mid-80s.

Four years ago Mrs Malson resurrected it with the help of local businesses and a band of volunteers.

She added: "I want to thank everyone who made this possible, especially the secretaries, Sue Warman and Jenny Cockett, Barbara Warren, who stepped in to commentate, and all the stewards.

"And I would also like to thank all the businesses who sponsored us." The horse show has a long history in the park.

The first was held in 1890 by miners who brought their pit ponies up from the dark to compete against those from neighbouring mines.

It stopped in 1960 and was re-started in 1972, when crowds lined the banks to watch big-name equestrians like David Broome and Harvey Smith.

The show moved from Pontypool Park in 1981. It was held for a few more years in Cwmbran before interest waned and it was dropped from the calendar.