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Top U.S. Equestrian Events You Should Experience Once in Your Lifetime

September 24, 2019

Myristol founder Dr. Gayle Trotter often gets called upon to evaluate and treat equine athletes. It’s not surprising given the number of equestrian events here in the U.S.

Some of these events are classed as the biggest and most iconic in the world. So, if you genuinely love horses, here are four equestrian events in the U.S. that you must experience at least once in your lifetime.

Kentucky Three-Day Event

The Kentucky Derby isn’t the only show in-state. There’s also the Kentucky Three-Day Event, the foremost eventing competition in America. This annual competition was first held in 1978, initially as a one-off event. But it was so successful that it ultimately became an annual spectacle. It offers prize money of over $400,000 spread out over several events in dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.

The derby is a huge deal, especially for Kentuckians in the Lexington, Georgetown, and Bluegrass areas. Georgetown/Scott County Tourism Commission Executive Director Lori Saunders told News-Graphic that the Kentucky Three-Day Event is “one of the area’s biggest attractions,” with over 80% of attendees “coming from outside Kentucky.” It’s that big of a deal. It is also one the best events to see multiple equine disciplines in one place. 

Breeder’s Cup

Much is said about the famed Triple Crown races — the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. But the Breeder’s Cup is arguably more prestigious than those three and it attracts the best thoroughbreds from all around the world. The Breeder’s Cup, from its inception in 1984 up until 2006, was a single-day event.

Starting 2007 the organizers turned it into a two-day spectacle as it grew more popular. Aside from the prestige, the two-day event is also quite lucrative for the winners. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is one of the richest races in the world with a prize purse that regularly tops $5 million. This year’s edition will be held at the iconic Santa Anita in Southern California on November 1 and 2. It will pay more than $28 million in total prizes spread out over 14 races. For any horse racing fan, this is a must see event.

Hampton Classic

The Hampton Classic is the biggest show jumping event in America. Its roots date back to the early 1900s in Southampton. However, it was discontinued three times — the first time at the height of World War I and the second time during World War II. It returned in 1959 as the Southampton Horse Show, but was discontinued a third time in the mid-1960s. It was then re-launched by New York’s Topping Riding Club as the Hampton Classic in 1971. This event has now become a must-see showcase involving the country’s top riders.

It was originally a one-day event, but has since become a multi-day spectacle. Held annually on Snake Hollow Road in upstate Bridgehampton, the Hampton Classic offers prize money exceeding $500,000. It is, in a word, spectacular, with Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman hailing it as the equestrian community’s version of the U.S. Open. No wonder stars like Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Brook Shields, and Billy Joel have all attended the event. 

Range Champions Ride

The finest bronc riders in the world compete in the Champions Ride, which is held every August in North Dakota. Jake Wright, who competed in 2017, said it’s every bronc rider’s dream to participate in this event that has been going for 63 years. Prize funds for the Champions Ride vary every year. What is constant, though, is the high caliber competition, as only ranked riders get invites.

Written by Q. Daviau for myristol.com

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