HAY Horse Show may be one of the oldest horse-only town shows in the country - and now organisers want Hereford Times readers to help them trace its origins.

They are about to start researching the event's beginnings, details of which seem to have been lost in the mists of time.

Show secretary Mrs Tina Archer explained that they already had old prize cards and trophies, the earliest of which dated back to 1903, so it was an obvious possibility that it had been running before that date.

"I believe there were also sheep and cow classes, it was not just a horse show," she added. "One of the cards we have is a third prize for sheep."

Organisers are keen to hear from people who may have memories of the show, hopefully before the 1920s, but they realise that such people may now be few and far between.

"They're going to be elderly, maybe there's some old farmers, but we hope to find someone who can give us some more information," said Mrs Archer.

For now, minds have been concentrated on organising this year's show, which is due to be held at Nantyglasdwr Farm, Cusop, on Sunday, July 29.

"We always said getting more information would be a really interesting thing to do but there has just not been enough time," Mrs Archer admitted.

"However we will definitely be buckling down to it once this year's event is over!"

The plan is to include the show's history on its new website (www.hayhorseshow.co.uk), which has only just been launched but already carries a downloadable schedule for this year.

As in the past, competitors are expected from across the country.

Coming only days after the Royal Welsh Show, Mrs Archer explained, a lot of Hay's entrants featured people who had stayed on for that and were taking part while on their way back to the London area.

Other competitors come from the Midlands, Bristol, Wales, Essex and, throughout Herefordshire.

"We have affiliated and unaffiliated classes, which means there's something for most levels of confidence," she added.

"It will be a good day out for horsey spectators - an enjoyable day because there's such a variety to watch." She also promised a bigger variety and number of trade stands than in previous years, adding: "You can do some shopping!"

Anyone who thinks they can help shed some light on the earliest days of Hay Horse Show can contact Mrs Archer by emailing her at tina@saethydd.com