If you’re ready for a vacation, especially one that includes a road trip and has great horse-stuff shopping, consider visiting one of these iconic horses show destinations. Don’t forget your camera and autograph book – you never know what famous rider (or horse) you’ll be able to see compete!
January 1- April 1 – Palm Peach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, FL
The Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF, January 4 – March 31) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring seven CDI events. Included are four FEI World Cup qualifiers, one 4* and one 5*, the only non-championship CDIO Nations’ Cup in the Western Hemisphere, as well as weekly U.S. National events. The AGDF is offering more than $600,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The AGDF is also one of the few events in the United States to hold a CPEDI, a qualifying event for Para-Equestrian Dressage.
The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF, January 10 – April 1) is the largest and longest-running circuit in horse sport, a 12-week show jumping competition for hunters, jumpers, and equitation held annually. Riders from 42 countries and 50 U.S. states come to compete for more than $10 million in prize money, which is the largest amount distributed over 12 weeks in the world. The event offers competition for children, junior, adult amateur, and professional equestrians
April 26 – 29 – Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event (formerly the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event), Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY
New title sponsor, same exciting event. One of only six Four Star Three-Day Events in the world (the highest designation, which is given only to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and six annual events around the world) and the only one in the Western Hemisphere, the Kentucky Three-Day Event annually welcomes more than 80,000 spectators. Televised on NBC, the competition reaches more than 115 million households across the country. Each year the Kentucky Three-Day Event attracts the world’s best horse-and-rider combinations vying for their share of $400,000 of prize money
May 4 – Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, Louisville KY
The Kentucky Derby is a top rank, Grade I stakes race for 3 year old Thoroughbred horses. It is the first race of the often elusive Triple Crown. The race distance is 1-1/4 miles long, and it is run on the dirt racetrack. Colts and geldings in the race carry 126 pounds (57 kg), and fillies in the race carry 121 pounds (55 kg).The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May every year and typically draws a crowd of 155,000 people. It is the longest continually held sporting event in America, and it is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. The winner receives $2 million.
May 24-June 3 – Devon Horse Show and County Fair, Devon, PA
The Devon Horse Show and County Fair is the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed horse competition in the United States. Fans come from all over the world to compete but it is also a great destination as the county fair portion allows families or horse lovers to interact with the competing riders and horses, tour the stables, enjoy delicious local treats and shop the many handicrafts and vendors that also attend.
August 26-September 2 – The Hampton Classic, Bridgehampton, NY
As one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the United States, and a premier destination for horse people. If you relish the idea of horse showing as being an “elite sport,” then this is the show for you. Now well into its third successful decade, the event is famous for its Hamptons Celebrity sightings. It is also regarded as second to none in high end shopping boutiques, earning it the nickname “The Classic.” It is conveniently located near some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast, and amidst the fashionable Hamptons summer scene.
September 11-23 – World Equestrian Games, Tryon International Equestrian Center, Mill Spring, NC
The FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) is held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, is one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar, combining eight equestrian World Championship caliber events in a pre-determined location. The FEI disciplines – Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining – are all included on the competition schedule so there’s something for everyone. Over the 13-day event, there will be equestrian-focused demonstrations and exhibitions Spruce Meadows Masters
October 2-18, 2018 – Quarter Horse Congress, Ohio Expo Center/Ohio State Fairground, Columbus Ohio
The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is the world’s largest breed registry with over 5 million horses registered, so it is fitting that the All American Quarter Horse Congress (AAQHC) be designated the largest single breed horse show in the world. Lasting a full three weeks, there are over 23,500 show entries, more than 650,000 visitors and over $3 million in cash and prizes, including trucks, trailers, trophy saddles and sterling silver buckle
October 23-28 – Washington International Horse Show, Capital One Arena (formerly Verizon Center), Washington, DC
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most prestigious and entertaining equestrian events in North America. 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.
October 27- November 4 – National Horse Show, Alltech Arena, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY
Founded in 1833, the National Horse Show offers over $810,000 in prize money. International Open Jumpers will compete for almost half a million dollars in prize money, while the top-rated hunter sections will vie for a total purse of $195,000. For six consecutive years, the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame has named the National Horse Show the Horse Show of the Year. Competition highlights include the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay National Championship for equitation.
Have a safe trip! Happy shopping!