The National Horse Show is one of the most prestigious and historical equestrian events in the United States, best known for its long tenure in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden. And while its current location at the Kentucky Horse Park might not have the same old-school glamour as the middle of New York City, there’s a lot of reasons to attend the show.
If you are in the area, here’s what you can expect to see and do at this year’s show.
- The Country’s Best Hunters and Jumpers. Daytime sessions primarily feature hunter classes with entries coming in from across the country. Jumper classes take over in the evening.
- Past, Present and Future Olympians. Many of your favorite show jumping competitors will be in the ring for Thursday night’s $130,000 CP Grand Prix and Saturday’s $250,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Lexington. Expect to see riders from the silver-medal-winning U.S. team from the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
- Barn Night. If you can make it to the CPNHS for one night, Friday night is the one to pick. Barns from around Lexington and beyond will be in the stands, showing their barn pride to win prizes. The featured class for the evening is the Salamander Hotels & Resorts $35,000 Accumulator Jumper Class, a spectator-friendly, point-based competition that even your non-equestrian friends will enjoy watching.
- George Morris. The legendary guru of hunt seat equitation and former chef d’equipe of the U.S. Show Jumping Team will also be on hand on Friday nights to sign copies of his autobiography, Unrelenting.
- Equitation Excellence. If being in the presence of George Morris doesn’t inspire you to get to work on your equestrian skills, watching the riders in the 2016 Maclay National Championship on Sunday will. More than 100 riders qualify for this national final from their respective regions, but only one rider will get the prestigious title at the end of the final round on Sunday. Watch the final work-off from the 2014 Maclay Final here.
Visit nhs.org for schedule, ticketing, and more information.
Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com