Planning your next vacation is always something to look forward to. Whether it’s to a tropical beach bungalow or a snowy ski getaway in a cabin; planning the vacation is half the fun! For the ultimate equestrian sports vacation, traveling to any major horse riding events is a treat. There are too many to list at once, so we’ll give you a couple to dip your toes in.
Of course, thoroughbred horse racing is one of the most-watched equestrian sports, and a cutthroat world at that (it’s called The Sport of Kings for a reason!) Even traditional riders will enjoy watching the lean, athletic machines shake the ground. If you like fast-paced and fast, high-risk events, racing is for you.
1) Kentucky Derby, Preakness and The Belmont
One of the most famous thoroughbred horse races is the Kentucky Derby. Followed by this are the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, all increasing in distance. The horse that wins all three legs gets the bragging rights until the next winner of the Triple Crown, oh and a couple of bucks to their name!
Start Date - May 2, 2020
Location - Churchill Downs
Official Site - https://www.kentuckyderby.com/
2) Kentucky Three Day Event
For the eventers out there, the Kentucky Three Day Event is the place to be in the U.S. For years, it has been mainly sponsored by Rolex, which was its long-time standing tag name. 2019 introduced Land Rover as the main sponsor of one of the most exciting weekends for horse riding events.
Start Date - 23 April 2020
End Date - 26 April 2020
Location - Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington
Buy Tickets - https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/12526/kentucky-three-day-event
Official Site - https://kentuckythreedayevent.com/
Three-day eventing is the Triathalon of the horse world. With 3 back to back days, horses and riders are expected to perform at top standards with each day being more difficult than the last from muscle and mental fatigue. The schedule of 3-day eventing is modeled to be difficult for the horses as well as the riders:
Dressage is a discipline that requires the utmost attention to detail and requires composure for both horse and rider. This is especially difficult for “hot” horses, as they often have a lot of energy built up from just arriving. Having the dressage as the first phase is difficult as riders must hone in on their horse’s high energy levels and perform a test with precision.
Day 2:Cross Country
Cross country is the most recognizable phase. When people think of eventing, they think of the cross country and its mercilessness. A brutal course with solid and sturdy fences and banks take no prisoners. A check on the horse and rider’s time management skills and perseverance is cross country’s strength.
Day 3: Showjumping
Showjumping on the last day is the true testament of the horse and rider’s fitness and tenacity. After a grueling day of cross country, horse and rider pairs must endure one last push around a showjumping course. This requires short, powerful hind end action over each fence.
The Kentucky Three Day Event, aka The Best Weekend All Year, is held in scenic Lexington, Kentucky and holds many vendors for shopping for that perfect souvenir.
For showjumping, like other disciplines, there are many venues that hold these competitions all over the world, especially in North America and Europe. The Longines Masters are held in several cities like New York and Paris. Outdoor and indoor competitions are both impressive to watch.
3) Spruce Meadows
The technicality and needed from both horses and riders is simply amazing. For the grand Prix level, fences range in heights that exceed 1.4 meters or higher yet.
Impressive horse riding events in this discipline include the Spruce Meadows CSI 5* events; these should be on every show jumper’s bucket list to go watch. An incredible outdoor venue and hosts part of the Rolex Showjumping Grand Slam!
Official Site - https://www.sprucemeadows.com/
4) and 5) Devon
The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair always impress as well. A classy place to relax, shop and of course watch McClain Ward dominate the Sapphire Grand Prix.
Dressage at Devon is another fantastic equestrian sports event to attend. There are several class types that can be enjoyed all jam-packed in a few days. From breed type to in-hand classes to the Grand Prix freestyle, there are all levels showcased at one venue. Along with a shopping village that stocks high-quality goods, there will be something for any horse lover to enjoy!
Start Date - 12 Septemper 2019
End Date - 15 Septemper 2019
Location - Devon, Pennsylvania
Official Site - http://www.devonhorseshow.net/
HITS horse shows are based out of multiple venues across the United States. An acronym for Horse Shows In The Sun, HITS is an equine event production company that facilitates world-class hunter/jumper circuits in several locations.
This agency promotes quality equestrian sports events in key traditional cities: Saugerties, Ocala, Thermal in California, Culpeper and more. All HITS events are prominent circuits in the horse world and offer high prize money amounts from $200 to the million-dollar grand Prix. Pick the closest show near you to enjoy!
Upcoming Events - http://www.hitsshows.com/
Location - United States
Official Site - http://www.hitsshows.com/
An awesome vacation doesn’t have to be a week-long sunburn at the beach, take a long weekend getaway with your barn buds and split a hotel room. Make a list of your own must-see horse riding events and start planning. Watching top riders and horses always re-lights the fire that stoked your initial love for riding!