Hunters, jumpers and Saddlebreds share the spotlight at the Alltech National Horse Show

McLain Ward and Antares F
McLain Ward and Antares F won the Alltech Grand Prix at the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show. Photo: Leslie Potter

When the National Horse Show moved to Kentucky, it brought hope for some much-needed stability for the historic equestrian event. After more than a century in the prestigious spotlight at Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, the show had moved several times, its scope dwindling each time.

In 2011, on the heels of their sponsorship of the World Equestrian Games, Kentucky-based bioscience company Alltech brought the show and its legacy to their own backyard. The newly branded Alltech National Horse Show (ANHS) is now celebrating its third year at its new home in the Kentucky Horse Park’s indoor Alltech Arena.

There are some new things in store for this year’s ANHS.

Inspired by the Washington International Horse Show’s popular Barn Night in which young riders from local stables celebrate their team spirit, the ANHS is hosting its own for the first time. The evening of Friday, Nov. 1 is Alltech’s Barn Night in the Bluegrass, and prizes will be awarded to groups that “show spirit” during the equestrian competition. Among the prizes awarded is a trip for four to the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

The Kentucky Gathering runs in conjunction with the horse show and is designed to showcase Kentucky products. Fun activities for all ages will be held along with a showcase of food and drink from around the state. Perhaps to combat the indulgence, there will also be a Biggest Loser 5K and 15K run on Saturday morning.

During the evening sessions, there will be several exhibitions designed to keep the spectators entertained. Dueling DJs will play at certain times in between classes, offering a new type of visual and auditory entertainment. A unique addition will be demonstrations by American Parkour. For the uninitiated, Parkour is a sport that puts acrobatics in an urban environment as the athletes navigate walls, buildings, fences and any other obstacles that arise.

Misdee Miller
Misdee Miller and Grande Gil took first place in the American Saddlebred Three-Gaited Championship at the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show. Photo: Leslie Potter.

The American Saddlebred division was historically an important part of the National Horse Show. Through most of the 20th century, the show was one of the most important on the Saddlebred circuit and hosted one of the most prestigious saddle seat equitation finals in the country. That division faded at the turn of the 21st century, but it returned in an exhibition-style format at the 2012 edition of the ANHS. This year will see an expanded American Saddlebred division that includes classes for professional riders, amateurs and junior exhibitors. Saddlebred and Hackney Pony classes will be held during the evening sessions Wednesday through Friday.

“We’re also going to offer a new spin (to the Saddlebred division) by adding a Pro/Am Style Saddlebred/Show Jumping event,” says Production Manager Brian Lookabill. “The professional Saddlebred riders will actually show over fences, and professional show jumping riders will compete on Saddlebreds. And the great part is that they’ll be scored as a team for ribbons.”

Other returning highlights include Friday evening’s puissance, Saturday night’s Grand Prix, and hunt seat equitation’s most coveted title, the Maclay National Final, on Sunday.

All sessions of the show will be available for free viewing on Alltech’s iHigh channel at and beginning on Oct. 30 on

For schedule, event and ticketing information, visit

Further Reading
Slideshow: Scenes from the 2012 Alltech National Horse Show
2011 Alltech National Horse Show Wrap-up
National Horse Show moves to the Kentucky Horse Park



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