Tag Archives: steeplechase

The 2021 Grand National

2011 Grand National. RacingKel.

0As a National Hunt horse race held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England, The Grand National was first run in 1839. It is a handicap steeplechase over an official distance of about 4 miles and 2½ furlongs (4 miles 514 yards), with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps. The 2020 Grand National was cancelled for the first time since WW2 due to Covid-19.

The Grand National is the most valuable jump race in Europe. Get the best Grand National tips, take the best odds and ante post outlook for April 2021. With Grand National odds on offer all-year-round, the modern-day punter has the opportunity to try one’s luck on the world’s greatest steeplechase at all stages through the year.

Top Six Grand National 2021 Favourites are:

  1. Tiger Roll – Winner of the 2018 and 2019 Grand Nationals and became the first ‘back-to-back’ winner since Red Rum in the 1970s.
  2. Burrows Saint – Won the 2019 Irish Grand National so have a pedigree in these races. Still young so has time on his side.
  3. Any Second Now – Winner of the Kim Muir Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. A faller in the 2019 Irish National but was running well at the time.
  4. Presenting Percy – Joined trainer G. Elliott’s stable earlier this year, and soon after came back on top in style at Thurles in November 2020.
  5. Santini – A classy staying chaser that was a close runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2020. Would probably have that race as a target again this season, but there has been some small talk of a National bid.
  6. Kimberlite Candy – Laid down some claims of Grand National success to come with a fine victory in the Classic Chase at Warwick. Ground conditions are likely going to be the dictating factor when deciding on an Aintree return.

Previously we have had Rule the World at huge odds of 50-1 in 2016, Pineau De Re at 33-1 in 2014, and Neptune Collonges at 40-1 in 2012.

Experience counts in the Grand National and 20 of the last 26 winners were aged either 9, 10, or 11. In that period there have also been four eight-year-old and two twelve-year-old winners.

The festival always starts with Grand Opening Day renamed to Liverpool’s NHS Day (renamed to honour the work of dedicated NHS staff) on Thursday, Aintree Ladies’ Day on Friday, then Saturday’s Grand National Day. The next Grand National three-day meeting will run between Thursday 8th April to Saturday 10th April 2021, with the Grand National always staged on the final day – in 2021 this will be on 10th April.

Liverpool’s NHS Day, formerly known as Grand Opening Day, traditionally features four Grade One contests, including the Betfred Bowl and Betway Aintree Hurdle.

One of the most glamorous days of the sporting calendar is Aintree Ladies’ Day which has become one of the most revered days of the season, not only for the action on the course but also for its finery and luxury.

Three Grade One races including the JLT Melling Chase and Mildmay Novices’ Chase are the highlight of the day, while the Topham Chase allows fans to see horses take on the Grand National fences over a shorter two-and-a-half miles.

Then comes Grand National Day on Saturday, which is the highlight of the festival.

Randox has agreed to a five-year extension to its current sponsorship of the Grand National meeting at Aintree. The new agreement will run from 2022-2026 and follow on from the initial five-year contract which runs until next year.

As well as being the headline sponsor of the festival, Randox will lend its name to the three races over the Grand National fences at the fixture – the Randox Foxhunters Chase, the Randox Topham Chase, and the big one itself, the Randox Grand National.

Cheltenham Festival Hurdle Horse Races 2021

Cheltenham racecourse in 2010. Carine06 from UK.

The Cheltenham Festival Jump Horse Racing Festival is from Tuesday 16 to Friday 19 March 2021, including Gold Cup Day. Cheltenham follows British government’s guidance to allow spectators when it is safe to attend. Until then, when you want a winner, we have the guide and schedule for your favourite horses.

Will there be people in attendance like there was last year when they just missed the Covid-19 quarantines? Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that restrictions would be lifted, if possible, in mid-February which could allow for crowds at Cheltenham.

Last year’s Cheltenham was one of the final major sporting events to go ahead as normal before the UK was sent into its first national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 Cheltenham meet is scheduled to get under way on Tuesday, March 16 with The Champion Hurdle being the headline race on Day One.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase and The Stayers’ Hurdle will follow on the next two days, ending with the Gold Cup on Friday, March 19.

The way they run the Cheltenham Festival is by splitting it in two sections, running four days in total. Days one and two will be run on the Old Course, days three and four on the New Course.

The Old Course was used for the Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase. The New Course, which hosts the longer Stayers’ Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup, takes a toll on a horse’s stamina. The field can drastically change and morph as the horses gallop up the fabled Cheltenham hill.

There is also a cross-country course which is laid out inside the main racecourse and is used for cross-country steeplechases.

The first race is the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which starts the Cheltenham Festival and sees runners sent off with the famous “Cheltenham roar”. The Supreme has an impressive roll of honor, including the likes of Vautour and Douvan, but one of the most notable winners in recent years was Altior.

The Arkle Challenge is the second race and is offered for top two-mile horses. The Arkle has been won in the past by Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop, Sizing Europe, and Sprinter Sacre, to qualify to run r the Champion Chase. Willie Mullins has dominated the race in recent years, including victories for Un de Sceaux, Douvan, Footpad, and Duc des Genievres.

The third race is the Festival Handicap Chase which has seen one of the best rides in Cheltenham Festival history when Wichita Lineman was carried home by A. P. McCoy in 2009.

The National Hunt Chase is one of three races at the Cheltenham Festival restricted to amateur riders. It is the longest race of the meeting, run over three and three-quarter miles where Irish trainers have had plenty of success in recent times. Gordon Elliott has won two of the last three runnings, including with Ravenhill in 2020.

Then they have the Novices’ Handicap Chase first run in 2005. It often brings the most progressive novices together, and has a history of representing strong form.

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the “meetings” (British term for horse races, etc.) in the National Hunt racing calendar in the United Kingdom. Its race prize money is second only to the Grand National. It takes place annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. It usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day and is particularly popular with Irish visitors.

The meeting’s Grade I races include: the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, and Stayers’ Hurdle. Large amounts of money are gambled, hundreds of millions over the course of the week.

Cheltenham is known for its atmosphere, including the “Cheltenham roar”, referring to the enormous amount of noise that the crowd generates as the starter raises the tape for the first race of the festival. It was initially titled the Grand National Hunt Meeting and took place at several locations.

After additions and major improvements made at Cheltenham, including a new stand (the fourth one), miles of drain to prevent unsuitable racing ground, tar paving in the enclosures, and the paddock extended to 35 saddling boxes, proved enough to make the National Hunt Committee decide that the 1911 meeting was to return at Prestbury Park, Cheltenham where it remained to the present.

Aintree Grand National 2019

When the Cheltenham Festival is over in the United Kingdom, horse racing fans across the world start to look towards World’s most famous, exciting and prestigious Grand National. Held on the historic Aintree course in Liverpool, this is a huge test of jumping ability and stamina, where only the best and most courageous horse comes through.

This National Hunt horse race will be held on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. Look to the Grand National guide for an indispensable aid to finding the winner of the World’s most famous and prestigious horse race.

The “National” offers a different kind of horse-racing experience with a pack of horses competing along a 4-mile course studded with 30 fences. This is a handicap race where horses wear different weights. The National Hunt horse race’s Steeplechase style is popular in France and the United Kingdom. A Steeplechase is a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump diverse fence and ditch obstacles.

Modern usage of the term “steeplechase” differs between countries. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it refers only to races run over large, fixed obstacles, in contrast to “hurdle” races where the obstacles are much smaller. The collective term “jump racing” or “National Hunt racing” is used when referring to steeplechases and hurdle races collectively. Elsewhere in the world, “steeplechase” is used to refer to any race that involves jumping obstacles.

The drama is spread out over 3 days while spectators gather in the grandstands and all-inclusive restaurants to watch the winning horse pass through the finish line after jumping the last obstacle along the Steeplechase. The Grand Opening Day is on Thursday 4th and Ladies’ Day is on Friday 5th, before Saturday’s Grand National Day.

This steeplechase race course has much larger fences than those found on conventional National Hunt tracks. Many of these, particularly Becher’s Brook, The Chair, and the Canal Turn, have become famous and, combined with the distance of the event, create what has been called “the ultimate test of horse and rider.”

The Grand National site contains everything you need to know about this magical race. The National will be held at the Aintree Racecourse which is predicted to host over 150,000 racegoers across the 3 days. An estimated worldwide audience of over 600 million people will tune in to watch on TV.

The National is the most valuable jump race in Europe that captures the imagination of millions of watchers around the world. It has an ability to consistently produce thrilling finishes and heart-warming stories.

The National is popular among many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year. Read the Aintree Grand National 2019 Betting companion article for details and tips on betting.

Sean McDermott and Gibralfaro Finish Strong at 72nd Annual Tryon Block House Races

Sean McDermott and Gibralfaro (right). Photo credit: Madison Ibach/Tryon Resort.

Columbus, NC – April 15, 2018 – In stunning back-to-back wins at the 72nd Annual Tryon Block House Races on Saturday, April 14, jockey Sean McDermott was awarded the Top Jockey award and honored for his efforts in the coveted Block House Race, as well as in the Dr. John Bradshaw Memorial Race. The iconic event featured five thrilling races in front of a packed crowd at the Green Creek Race Track for the second consecutive year.

Humbly, McDermott gave credit to his horses and support team for the victories: “Two wins today – though I wish it was three! You can’t do it without the horses, and [trainer] Jack Fisher traditionally starts his a little late [in the season] and we use their first few races as a prep, and it sets them up nicely for their second runs of the season. They have a bit of longevity through the season. If you’re not on the horses you can’t win the races, and we’re grateful to have all the good horses we do that make our job easy.”

Founded by the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club 72 years ago, the Tryon Block House Races is now produced and managed by the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The event drew 39 entries across five races throughout the afternoon chasing $130,000 in prize money. Each race included two laps around the course, and six hurdles adorned the rolling 2 1/8 miles of track.

The highlight race for the day, The Block House, saw six entries fly around the track in three minutes and 55 and two-fifth seconds. McDermott and Gibralfaro took top honors and were awarded The Roger Smith Cup, presented by Roger and Jennifer Smith, after a tight battle with Lord Justice, another Irish-bred and Jack Fisher-trained horse.

“That’s a beautiful horse,” McDermott said of Gibralfaro. “Riverdee Stables have just imported him from England, and it’s very difficult for a horse to win his first time off the boat over here, given the ground conditions and the different types of hurdles, so it’s just a credit to his honesty and his engine that he got it done, and I’m sure he’ll only improve.”

Of his second winning mount, Overwhelming, McDermott revealed that the horse’s previous wins over hurdles made him a strong contender coming into the flat race, as the horse is in top form after being rehabbed throughout all of last season for a minor injury.

“Overwhelming is a class horse – I think he’s won three stakes over hurdles. We had a little prep run in Camden and a training flat race, so today we thought he’d win,” McDermott admitted. He goes well on this ground, but he’s had a small tendon injury in the past and so this was the best fit for him in his schedule, and we’re very happy. It was a lovely stepping stone for him, and I presume he’ll go for a hurdle race now. He’s a tough horse over two miles over hurdles – he’s a good cruising speed and we’re very happy with him.”

National Steeplechase Association Director of Racing, William Gallo, Jr., raved about the event’s success. “This is my favorite race,” he emphasized. “It’s my second year here. I was very impressed by this venue last year, obviously for its inaugural event, but it’s a marvelous race course. The horsemen really like it. You can tell by the entries – it’s well-supported and it’s got so much potential for the future as well. I could see it being a permanent site, and being a premier racetrack in America for Steeplechase racing.”

McDermott was not the only jockey to pull off a double on the day – Shane Crimin also took home two first place finishes: first in The Carter P. Brown Memorial maiden claiming race at the beginning of the event aboard Magalen O. Bryant’s Bob’n for Silver, and again in the Tryon Riding & Hunt Cup Ratings Handicap Hurtle, guiding Life Said for trainer and owner Richard L. Valentine.

“He’s not the fastest,” Crimin said of the grey gelding. “I just let him roll along and he comes away, so it was pretty straightforward with him. The track rode beautiful today – it’s nice. I was here last year and had three seconds, so hopefully it ends up better today.”

Sure enough, Crimin delivered a winning ride aboard Life Said just two races later in the Handicap Hurtle, beating out ten other pairs: “This one was different [than the last] – he [has] more of a gear and I can just sit and ride me race and just creep away into it like he did. While the other fella [Bob’n for Silver] is a bit slow in the gallops, this one has a turn of foot, so two very different rides.”

The Cannon Harmon Memorial Race was won by Last Shani with Jack Doyle in the irons, beating out five other entries to bring home the trophy on his very first run over hurdles. Doyle commented on the nature of the track, to which he’s been twice: “I was here last year, and the track is in great condition. You want a quick horse around here – it’s a pretty thick track, but it rides fair. It’s nice,” he said. “It was this horse’s first run over hurdles, so he was a bit green early on, and it took him a while to get going, but then going into the second to last [hurdle] he jumped out well and got a nice run out and won nicely.”

The day included various spectator contests, including a hat contest, tailgate awards, and “Go to Heck” pants contest, in addition to stick horse races following the mounted races, all of which combined for exciting and entertaining spectator experiences.

“The Tryon Block House Races have become a very important part of what we offer at the Tryon International Equestrian Center,” commented TIEC Chief Operating Officer Sharon Decker. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to do this event and to bring it to this magnificent location.”

For full results, visit www.nationalsteeplechase.com.

Visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

71st Block House Races Attracts High Praise and Strong Attendance

Balance The Budget and Mark Watts. ©ErikOlsen.

Columbus, NC – April 19, 2017 – More than 9,000 spectators turned out for the 71st annual Tryon Block House Races, the historic steeplechase of Tryon Riding & Hunt Club, at its new venue in Columbus, NC. Thanks to the partnership between Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club (TRHC), the 2017 event grew from four races to six and from 17 entries to 40 entries. The prize money more than doubled to $175,000.

Tryon Equestrian Partners’ Roger Smith, who had the vision for the new venue, was honored with a new perpetual trophy – the Roger Smith Cup.  Smith commented, “This was a dream come true for me to see such a great turnout from spectators, trainers, and owners for the inaugural event. The weather and the event could not have been more perfect.”

Balance The Budget, owned by Stonelea Stables and trained by Julie Gomena, rose above the field in the most anticipated race of the day, taking the $40,000 Tryon Block House Race by almost four lengths. The now eight-year-old took a major win last season at the 2016 Carolina Cup in Camden, SC before capturing victory this week at the 71st annual Tryon Block House Races in Columbus, NC. The dashing chestnut gelding was piloted by Mark Watts of Camden, SC and the pair finished the 2 ¼ mile race in 4:03.80 on the new turf course, besting six other pairs.

Off track, spectators got in on the competition with the annual hat and “Go to Heck” pants contests. Pants contest winner Beau Harling of Greenville, SC, a 17-year attendee of the Tryon Block House Races, was highly-complimentary of the event’s new venue.

“This is my 17th year at the Block House Races, although my family has been coming for 60 years, and this new venue is gorgeous,” said Harling. “With the stage and the vendors now and the kids’ area, this event is going to grow and considering this is just the first year, y’all have done a heck of a job. People better buy their tickets fast for next year because in three years; this event will be a sell-out.”

The opening ceremonies entertainment continued with a welcome by the Green Creek Hounds, a daring performance by the Shea Rose Vaulters, and Presentation of Colors by the Polk County Veterans Memorial Honor Guard. Skydivers descended with American Flag to the singing of the National Anthem before starting the first race.

For many families, like Amy Washburn Cooke of Bostic, NC, the Tryon Block House Races is a tradition generations old.

“We have been coming every year for at least 20 years and our group gets bigger every year,” said Cooke. “We have three generations here today and we hope it will be their tradition as well to come every year.”

Roy Brock of Asheville, NC enjoyed all aspects of the event, commenting, “We’ve had a great time here today. Great hospitality, terrific event site, horses beautiful, riders beautiful, hats beautiful, pants beautiful. It’s really a terrific experience. I would recommend this event to anyone who wants to enjoy a beautiful spring day in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

The president of the National Steeplechase Association (NSA), the governing body for the sport of steeplechase, was very impressed with the entire event.

“I think it was a fabulous day of racing,” said NSA President Guy Torsilieri. The horsemen loved it; the owners and trainers loved it. Very impressive.”

Rug Howard, Chief Steward, said the event was “very, very well organized.” He continued, “It’s a beautiful race course, rode well, couldn’t have been a better day – especially for the first time,” emphasized Howard. “Whether the event is here or at the equestrian center, they [Tryon International Equestrian Center] always do a first-class job.”

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Tryon Equestrian Partners that owns and operates Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), is pleased with the event and is looking forward to future growth and ongoing improvements.

“We are pleased with our inaugural steeplechase through this partnership and look forward to making the event even better for future years,” said Bellissimo. “Our goal is to continue to expand the equestrian lifestyle offerings of Tryon Resort. We are confident that the Block House Races will become one of the most enjoyable and sought-after steeplechases in the circuit. We are grateful for the positive feedback from NSA and everyone who helped make this transition smooth and successful.”

For more info on the Tryon Block House Races and Tryon International Equestrian Center, please visit www.tryon.com.

About the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club

Formed in 1925, the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club seeks to enhance and preserve the traditions of the Tryon area by conducting equestrian and philanthropic programs that benefit the entire community. Learn more at www.trhc1925.org.

Saturday Night at WIHS Will Be One to Remember

Allison Brock and Rosevelt. Photo © Shannon Brinkman.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, WIHS Equitation Finals, Rodney Jenkins Induction Ceremony into WIHS Hall of Fame, President’s Cup Party, Dressage Freestyle, and Shetland Pony Steeplechase Racing

Washington, D.C. – October 16, 2015 – Saturday night will offer a memorable experience at the 57th annual Washington International Horse Show, with a full schedule packed with exciting competition and entertaining exhibitions. There is something for everyone on the biggest night of the show!

The $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC for the President’s Cup, is the featured event. It is preceded by the WIHS Equitation Finals, a freestyle dressage exhibition by Allison Brock and Rosevelt, and the final race in the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship. Throughout the night, festivities will be held at the President’s Cup Party, which benefits the USET Foundation’s “Ride to Rio” Olympic athlete program. The 2015 WIHS runs October 20-25, 2015, at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C.

Horse Power comes to D.C. for the 2015 Washington International Horse Show! Click to Play!

One of the world’s most esteemed equestrian competitions, WIHS draws some of the most well-known names in the sport, including Olympians and rising young stars. The highlight event of WIHS, the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Washington, is one of the most prestigious show jumping competitions on the competition calendar. It has been selected as one of seven events to comprise the East Coast division of the all-new Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League. Riders will be competing for points to qualify for the 2016 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Finals in Gothenburg, Sweden.

This year’s Pan American Games individual gold medalist and two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward will return to defend his title as 2014 winner of the WIHS President’s Cup grand prix.

Last year's grand prix winners, McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography
Last year’s grand prix winners, McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography

“I have always enjoyed competing at Washington. I love being downtown, and it has always been a very special week,” Ward expressed. “It has always been a great audience for the grand prix. Having it in the heart of the city is what gives it the atmosphere, and it is something that you cannot recreate in other venues.”

The night will begin with the top 10 work-off for the WIHS Equitation Finals. Spectators will watch the top junior riders in the country ride for the coveted championship, one of the biggest goals of the season. SAP, the official Technology Sponsor of WIHS, created a new equitation judging app, which will allow audience members to judge the Finals live from their seats at Verizon Center or as they watch the live stream.

The 2015 WIHS Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, presented by The Boeing Company, will take place on Saturday evening as part of a special night celebrating the United States Equestrian Team and will honor Rodney Jenkins. The ceremony will be a special moment in the ring following the conclusion of the WIHS Equitation Finals and before the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington class, and will feature a special tribute video and the presentation of the WIHS Hall of Fame Trophy.

Jenkins’ professional career started in the early 1960s and includes more than 70 grand prix wins. Although some current grand prix riders have more wins, few can match the quality of classes he won, his consistency, or his longevity. Some of his biggest wins were the President’s Cup Grand Prix at WIHS, which he won four times (1970, 1971, 1976, and 1983). In 1989, Jenkins announced his decision to retire from the show ring. Since then he has focused on training racehorses. The WIHS Hall of Fame is a very prestigious honor, recognizing leaders in the world of equestrian sports. The first inductee was equestrian legend George Morris in 1997, and since then 10 individuals have been inducted.

Not to be missed are this year’s entertaining Saturday night exhibitions. Allison Brock will be riding Fritz and Claudine Kundrun’s beautiful 2002 Hanoverian stallion, Rosevelt, in an elegant WIHS dressage exhibition, presented by Deloitte. They will perform a crowd-pleasing grand prix freestyle to music (Kür), where the horse and rider performs specially choreographed patterns to music.

The WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Race is one of the most popular exhibitions. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography
The WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Race is one of the most popular exhibitions. Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography

Following Brock’s dressage exhibition is the adorable WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship race, presented by Charles Owen. The steeplechase is modeled after professional races, with riders in colorful silks, a bugler, race caller and even a photo finish, but in miniature. Guided by their jockeys, youngsters age seven to 14, the traditional Shetland Ponies race over a course of tiny hurdles.

Overlooking the arena and adding to the illustrious night is the President’s Cup Party in the Acela Club, co-hosted by The Young Nelson Society of Washington, WIHS’s newest young philanthropic professionals group. The team spirit will be celebrated at the Acela Club, where ticket proceeds for the President’s Cup Party will be donated to support the USET Foundation’s “Ride to Rio” initiative, which supports the U.S. teams aiming for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to help them win medals and stand on the podium.

The party includes an open bar, dinner and the show. Guests, including business, government and diplomatic leaders, will be welcomed by the CityCenterDC red carpet and enjoy an evening of dinner, drinks, and socializing. Washington Life magazine will be photographing the party for their Winter issue, and there will be a beer tasting from Breckenride Brewery and a book signing with Vicki Moon, author of the new book, The Stylish Life Equestrian. Party tickets include dinner and open bar and are $150. Tables are also available. Visit www.wihs.org/social-events to purchase or call 202-525-3679.

Don’t miss the biggest and most exciting night of the week at WIHS! Tickets are available at the Verizon Center box office, online at www.Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000. For group discounts, contact Verizon Center Group Sales at 202-661-5061. For more information on tickets and discounts for military, seniors and students, visit http://www.wihs.org/tickets/.

About Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the 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. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (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 recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.

2015 WIHS Regional Horse Show Offers Competitors a Chance to Qualify for WIHS

The WIHS Regional Horse Show will host a qualifier for the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series. Photo copyright Alden Corrigan.

Washington D.C. – October 9, 2015 – The highly anticipated 2015 WIHS Regional Horse Show & USHJA Zone 3 Finals will be hosted at Prince George’s Equestrian Center (PGEC) in Upper Marlboro, MD from Friday, October 16, to Sunday, October 18, offering local and regional riders a final opportunity to punch their qualifying ticket to show at the world-renowned Washington International Horse Show (WIHS).

Entries for the WIHS Regional Horse Show & USHJA Zone 3 Finals close Friday, October 9. View the prize list for more information at www.wihs.org/wihs-regional/. The Washington International Horse Show begins Tuesday, October 20, and continues through Sunday, October 25, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., offering a week of elite equestrian competition showcasing the best of the hunter, jumper, and equitation disciplines.

Highlights of the WIHS Regional competition hosted at PGEC include the Maryland Horse Show Association Gittings Horsemanship Finals on Friday, October 16, beginning at 6 p.m. Grand championship honors will be awarded to the Children’s and Adult Hunters alongside the Children’s Hunter Pony division. The USHJA Zone 3 Finals will be held on Sunday, October 18, with special zone points being awarded to top place finishers.

Other highlights include the MHSA Children’s Pony Medal, presented by Oldfields School, Zone 3 Adult Amateur Hunter Finals 36 & Over, presented by the Linden Group at Morgan Stanley, and Zone 3 Large Children’s Pony Hunter Division, presented by The Saddlery.

New for 2015, the WIHS Regional Horse Show will host a qualifier for the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series, presented by Charles Owen. The Shetland ponies and their mini jockeys will compete in a race to earn their spot to compete in the feature events at Verizon Center. They will run in the indoor arena at PGEC on Friday, October 16, at 5:00 p.m. The top finishers will then compete in the finals at WIHS during its main week of competition on Thursday, October 22, and Saturday, October 24. An ice cream social will be held Friday night during the qualifying event. There will also be a pizza party on Saturday, open to all exhibitors, thanks to Buckeye Nutrition.

The fourth annual Laura Pickett Award for Excellence in Horsemanship will also be selected during the WIHS Regional competition, honoring and remembering local equestrian and trainer Laura Pickett, and will be presented to a rising adult or child rider alongside their respective trainer/s for exhibiting enthusiasm, dedication, commitment and a sense of style, bringing out the best of horse and rider combinations. The award, presented by WIHS President Vicki Lowell on Thursday night at Barn Night, will honor the many qualities for which Pickett is remembered. Nominees for the award will be asked to wear a pink armband and will be judged for their performances inside the ring and their conduct throughout the weekend. The winner will be notified by Monday, October 19, and will receive a pair of custom boots provided by Fabbri Boots.

Children’s and Adult hunters and jumpers will take center stage during the weekend, as final qualifying spots are up for grabs to compete in the WIHS Championship Finals as well as the Regional Hunter Finals at Verizon Center. The WIHS Championship Finals will feature the $10,000 WIHS Children’s Hunter Championship and the $10,000 WIHS Adult Hunter Championship on Tuesday, October 20. The $10,000 WIHS Children’s Jumper Championship and the $10,000 WIHS Adult Jumper Championship will both be held on Wednesday, October 21. Regional hunter combinations who earn a qualifying spot in the WIHS Regional Hunter Finals will compete at Verizon Center on Sunday, October 25.

All of the fantastic regional competition in Upper Marlboro, MD leads up to the 57th annual Washington International Horse Show, featuring many of the nation’s top horses and riders as well as some of the world’s best international competitors. For more information, please visit www.wihs.org.

About Washington International Horse Show, www.wihs.org
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the 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. Event highlights include the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington, presented by Events DC, for the President’s Cup (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 recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the world governing body for horse sports.

D.C.’s “Cutest Sport” Is on the Road to the Washington International Horse Show

WASHINGTON – May 20, 2015 – The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) is pleased to announce the wildly popular WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series, presented by Charles Owen, will be off and running again in 2015. The entertaining event features pint-sized jockeys in colorful silks racing the cutest, fluffiest Shetland Ponies to the cheers of spectators of all ages.

The first stop in the series will be the historic Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in Devon, Pa., May 24 and May 25, and it will conclude with the finals at WIHS in October at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Introduced in 2013 and expanded last year, the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase races, dubbed “D.C.’s newest — and cutest — sport” by Gillian Brockell of the Washington Post, are run like professional racing events with a bugler, race caller and photo finish, but in miniature — the jockeys are youngsters from seven to 14 mounted on traditional Shetland Ponies racing over a course of mini-hurdles.

For those unable to attend in person, the Devon races will be streamed live by EQSportsNet (eqsports.net) and archived on WIHS.org.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response to the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Series,” said WIHS Executive Director Bridget Love Meehan. “It’s been so much fun to create and build a fresh, fun and exciting event for spectators of all ages. Pony racing is also a great way for kids to get into equestrian sports. Not too many people know that Kent Farrington, one of the world’s top-ranked show jumpers and a frequent competitor at Washington, used to race ponies!”

Well-established in the United Kingdom, pony racing is growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks in part to Maryland-based U.S. Pony Racing, LLC (USPR), organizer of the WIHS exhibition series, which runs flat and jumping pony races at events throughout the region, including at Pimlico.

Before entering the USPR program, ponies are evaluated for their suitability and every child is fully prepared for race day. “We don’t want [the ponies] to be little race horses, we want them to be good ponies that kids can ride,” said Regina Welsh, USPR founder and director. “We want well-rounded kids and well-rounded ponies.”

Ongoing sponsor Charles Owen is no newcomer to pony racing. The Wrexham-based helmet maker has been a significant supporter of pony racing in the U.K. since 2005.

“Charles Owen is delighted to continue its support of the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series,” said Roy Burek, Managing Director of Charles Owen. “With our long association with pony racing in the U.K., we’re especially excited to be a part of its growth in the U.S. Devon and Washington offer an ideal showcase for this sport and we encourage equestrians and non-equestrians alike to come out to experience and enjoy it.”

The 57th annual Washington International Horse Show will be held October 20-25, 2015, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit WIHS.org.

About the Washington International Horse Show (www.wihs.org)

Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show attracts more than 26,000 spectators to 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. Event highlights include the Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday), the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, a World Cup qualifier (Saturday night) 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 recognized as a Top 25 Horse Show by the North American Riders Group. WIHS is rated CSI4*-W by the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the international governing body for horse sports.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com
803.240.7488
jenniferwoodmedia.com

2014 WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series Debuts at the Devon Horse Show

Photo © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Washington, D.C. – May 14, 2014 – The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) is pleased to announce the return of the wildly popular Shetland Pony racing exhibition and launch of the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series, presented by Charles Owen, which will include a stop at the historic Devon Horse Show in Devon, Pa., plus two nights of racing in Washington, D.C.

The WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase races are run like professional racing events with a bugler, race caller and photo finish, but the jockeys are youngsters from seven to 14, mounted on traditional Shetland Ponies racing over a course of miniature hurdles.

“Last year the audience went crazy for the super cute, fluffy Shetland Ponies and their tiny colorful jockeys racing around Verizon Center!” said WIHS President Vicki Lowell. “We started talking right away about how we could bring them back in a bigger way. Devon is a natural fit as it’s such a special show with great spectators of all ages.”

Well-established in England, pony racing is growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks in part to Maryland-based U.S. Pony Racing, LLC (USPR), organizer of the WIHS exhibition series, which about a year ago started running flat and jumping races for Shetland Ponies at racetracks in Maryland, including Pimlico.

Before entering the USPR program, every pony is evaluated for suitability for its rider and every child is fully prepared for race day. “We don’t want them to be little race horses, we want them to be good ponies that kids can ride,” said Regina Welsh, USPR founder and director. “We want well-rounded kids and well-rounded ponies.”

Charles Owen, sponsor of the inaugural Shetland Pony Steeplechase at Washington last year, will return as sponsor for the expanded 2014 series. No newcomer to pony racing, the Wrexham, England-based helmet maker has been a significant supporter of pony racing in Great Britain since 2005.

“Charles Owen is delighted to be presenting sponsor of the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship Series,” said Roy Burek, Managing Director of Charles Owen. “With our long association with pony racing in England, we’re especially excited to be a part of its growth in the U.S. Devon and Washington offer a perfect showcase for this sport, and we encourage equestrians and non-equestrians alike to come out to experience and enjoy it.”

WIHS Executive Director Bridget Love Meehan sees the growing series as a mutually beneficial for its partners. “We’re delighted Charles Owen, with its knowledge and appreciation of pony racing, has joined us to create a fresh, fun and exciting new event,” Love Meehan said. “Very few people know that Kent Farrington, the winner of the WIHS President’s Cup Grand Prix in 2013, used to race ponies! It’s a fun event for spectators and a great way for kids to get into equestrian sports!”

The first stop in the 2014 series will be Memorial Day, May 26, at the Devon Horse Show, and it culminates with the finals at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. with races on WIHS Barn Night, Thursday, October 23, and on Grand Prix Night, Saturday, October 25. Additional venues may be added.

The 56th annual Washington International Horse Show will be held October 21-26, 2014, at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.wihs.org.

For more information on U.S. Pony Racing LLC, please visit www.facebook.com/usponyracing.

About the Washington International Horse Show

Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show attracts more than 26,000 spectators to 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 nearly half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the Puissance high jump competition, Military Night (Friday), the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, a World Cup qualifier (Saturday night) 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.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com
803.240.7488
jenniferwoodmedia.com

Washington International Horse Show Barn Night Is Back

Reed Kessler and Ligist won last year’s $20,000 International Open Jumper Gambler’s Choice. © Shawn McMillen Photography.

Don’t miss the inaugural WIHS Shetland Pony International Steeplechase!

WASHINGTON — Sept. 4, 2013 — The Washington International Horse Show is pleased to welcome back the local favorite, Barn Night, presented again this year by Dover Saddlery. The festive and fun-filled Barn Night will take place Thursday, Oct. 24, during the 55th annual Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) Oct. 22-27 at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, DC.

New for 2013 Barn Night is the WIHS Shetland Pony International Steeplechase, presented by Charles Owen. U.S. Pony Racing’s young jockeys will suit up in colorful silks and gallop their Shetland ponies over hurdles in two steeplechase races. A popular tradition in Europe, this will be the first time Shetland ponies will race over jumps indoors in the U.S.

WIHS Barn Night is favored by young riders and horse enthusiasts who attend with their local barns and have a chance to enter contests such as Largest Group, Best Banner, Best Spirit and Best Video. Barns from Virginia, Maryland, the District and beyond will vie for sensational prizes including a custom golf cart from United Metro Golf Carts, gear from C&A Sportswear, a clinic with three-day eventing Olympian Will Coleman courtesy of Cavalor, and $5,000 worth of gift certificates from Dover Saddlery.

Returning sponsor Dover Saddlery is excited to be a part of this year’s Barn Night event. “We love being a part of Barn Night at the Washington International Horse Show because it’s important to us to support young riders getting involved in the sport,” said Dover’s Janet Nittmann. “It is such a fun event, and we look forward to seeing the creativity and enthusiasm from all the barns that come out each year.”

Thanks to support from committed sponsors like the Peterson Family Foundation, and official media partner, The Equiery, WIHS is able to offer an entertaining evening for exhibitors and attendees alike. Activities begin at 6:00 p.m. on the concourse at Verizon Center with a Stablemates painting activity hosted by Breyer Animal Creations. The first 100 kids to arrive will receive a special prize, also courtesy of Breyer. Throughout the night, groups will have a chance to pose at the famous WIHS Puissance wall, which will be set up on the concourse. There will also be a scavenger hunt, and the first 25 people to submit sheets with accurate answers will receive an Essex Classics show shirt. An autograph session with top riders will conclude the evening.

The evening’s feature equestrian competition is the Halloween-themed Gambler’s Choice Costume class, during which top riders and their horses will tackle a course of jumps set at 1.45m, dressed in creative outfits of their choosing.

“Barn Night is always fun because the atmosphere is so great,” said Reed Kessler, who won last year’s $20,000 International Open Jumper Gambler’s Choice class, dressed as Catwoman. “The best part of this sport is when the crowd is really passionate and excited about watching you ride and Barn Night always delivers in terms of enthusiasm!”

Before the start of the Gambler’s Choice, WIHS President Victoria Lowell will present the second annual Laura Pickett Trophy for Excellence in Horsemanship. Awarded in memory of Laura Pickett, the trophy will be presented to the adult or child rider and their trainer who best exhibit enthusiasm, dedication, style and commitment to excellent horsemanship at the WIHS Regional Horse Show & USHJA Zone 3 Finals, Oct. 18-20 at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Barn Night is a terrific opportunity for the DC region’s horse lovers to come together and enjoy a night of entertainment and camaraderie. Last year’s winners:

Largest Group Overall: Meadowbrook Stables, Chevy Chase, MD

Largest Group (Maryland): Wheaton Park Stables, Wheaton, MD

Largest Group (Virginia): Tamarack Stables, Lofton, VA

Largest Group (DC/Other): Rock Creek Horse Center, Washington, DC

Best Group Video: Rock Creek Horse Center, Washington, DC

Best Group Banner: Harmony Ridge, Deale, MD

Best Group Spirit: Serene Acres Riding Center, Round Hill, VA

Sign Up Today!

Visit www.wihs.org/tickets/ for more information on purchasing tickets to this year’s event. Download the 2013 Official WIHS Prize List at www.wihs.org/prize-list/.

Register your barn now to be eligible to participate in the group contests and for the chance to win great prizes! Join WIHS on Facebook and sign up on the Barn Night Facebook Event Page to enter contests, see who will be attending, and connect with other Barn Night participants!

Go to www.wihs.org/Barn-Night now to sign up to be eligible for this year’s contests and prizes. Discounted tickets for Barn Night are available at Verizon Center Group Sales Office. Call (202) 661-5061 now to reserve your seats! The minimum group size is 10 people.

Learn more about the Washington International Horse Show and the WIHS Regional Horse Show & USHJA Zone 3 Finals at www.wihs.org, join us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

About the Washington International Horse Show

Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show attracts more than 20,000 spectators to 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 nearly half a million dollars in prize money. Event highlights include the Puissance high jump competition on Military Night (Friday), the $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, a World Cup qualifier (Saturday night) 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.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com