Harrie Smolders and Emerald on their way to a win in the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington for the President’s Cup. © Shawn McMillen Photography.
Washington, D.C. – February 26, 2016 – The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) made another major jump in the standings in the North American Riders’ Group’s (NARG) yearly report of the top 25 horse shows in North America. A consistent presence in the NARG Top 25 since the report was created in 2012, WIHS is now the seventh-ranked horse show in North America, moving up an impressive seven places from last year.
NARG evaluations focus on the quality of the experience for competitors, including footing, stabling, and course design as well as the experience for spectators, such as hospitality, pace, marketing, and in-arena experience.
“WIHS wrapped its 57th year with one of the most successful events in its long history and, in the process, jumped from fourteenth to seventh in the rankings,” stated NARG. “This first-class venue has a unique atmosphere and an air of importance second to none. Organizers put in 150% to produce a celebratory week of equestrians at this nation’s capital, with great ceremony and abundant press coverage. The downtown D.C. neighborhood around the Verizon Center transforms into a festival of horses, drawing more than 26,000 fans.”
The report continued on to say, “Despite its space limitations, the downtown Washington location creates a magical experience for all participants. To compete at WIHS is worth some big city sacrifices, and since we began the NARG Top 25 many aspects have improved. Kudos to the management team, the sponsors, and to the city of Washington, D.C. for its ongoing assistance in managing the complex logistics of this extraordinary event.”
“The Washington International Horse Show is honored to be recognized as one of the best events in North America,” said WIHS President Victoria Lowell. “This event has a lot of history, but we are continuously working to improve the experience for competitors and spectators alike. The broad visibility of the show brings equestrian competition to a whole new audience and it is important to attract the best riders and horses in the world.”
For WIHS Show Manager David Distler, refining the logistics of the show each year is very important. “There are constraints of hosting a horse show in a busy downtown district, but everyone at WIHS is committed to making the show as safe, convenient and fun as possible for all exhibitors,” said Distler. “This year we addressed footing issues and improved stabling. Given the restrictions, we do everything we can to make the show run smoothly and to give the horses and riders a great experience. We will continue to do everything we can to keep advancing, and we are extremely happy with our significant move up the NARG standings.”
The Washington International Horse Show has been a treasure on the North American calendar for 58 years, and celebrates its tradition and history while continuing to grow and exceed expectations each year. A goal of WIHS organizers every season is to appeal to a larger fan base and bring new spectators to the sport by providing exciting and innovative sporting entertainment. Among its advances, WIHS worked with SAP this year to develop an app that allowed the audience to judge the WIHS Equitation Finals along with the officials, bringing WIHS to the forefront of entertainment technology in the sport. The opportunity to earn points to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals, plus large prizes, also drew more international riders in 2015.
The 58th annual Washington International Horse Show returns October 25-30, 2016, to Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.wihs.org.
For more information about the North American Riders Group, please visit www.narg.org. To read the complete NARG Top 25 of 2015 report, please visit http://www.narg.org/news/NARG-Top-25-of-2015-web.pdf.
About Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious equestrian sporting events in the U.S. More than 26,000 spectators attend the six-day show, which includes Olympic-level competition along with community and charity events. More than 500 top horses and riders come to D.C. from all over the globe to jump for more than a half a million dollars in prize money. Highlights include $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, the President’s Cup Grand Prix, presented by Events DC, (Saturday night), The Boeing Company Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day (Saturday), a free, fun and educational community event. The Washington International Horse Show Association, Ltd. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. WIHS is an official USEF Heritage Competition and is currently ranked #7 in the Top 25 Horse Shows by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.