Washington, D.C. - October 28, 2011 - As the weekend approaches, the 53rd annual Washington International Horse Show is pulling out all the stops. In addition to watching world-renowned equestrian show jumpers compete in a $25,000 Puissance (high-jump) tonight and a $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix on Saturday night, a slew of exciting events scheduled for the weekend should not be missed.
Preceding tonight's puissance and tomorrow's Grand Prix, WIHS will feature terrier races, where steeple chasing terriers will tear out of starting blocks like true race horses and sail over jumps with a first place finish at heart. Afterward, world-class four-in-hand driver and World Equestrian Games silver medalist Chester Weber will display the complicated combination of voice and hands used to guide multiple horses through a detailed obstacle course in the Chester Weber Driving Exhibition.
Terrier racing is always a big hit!
WIHS is also proud to host Guy McLean, a gifted horseman and entertainer worldwide. McLean's unprecedented horsemanship exhibits the rare connection between man and horse as he wows crowds by guiding horses through complicated movements and poses. A preview of McLean's act can be seen here and his act tonight will stream live from the WIHS website.
In tonight's puissance, riders from around the world will challenge their most athletic horses to compete through five rounds of jumping in which obstacle height is raised each round. With entries possibly including Olympic Veteran Todd Minikus and previous winner Aaron Vale, who has won over 165 Grand Prix events, the competition should be fierce. The riders will be vying for a chance to break the American record set at the 1983 WIHS of seven feet, seven and a half inches by Anthony D'Ambrosio and Sweet N' Low.
Michael Morrissey and Scaraberas attempted to set
a new puissance record at the WIHS in 2008
Saturday's Feature: Kid's Day!
Saturday at WIHS is the perfect day for spectators of all ages. Kid's Day, which has free admission, kicks off at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning and invites kids to enjoy horseshoe painting with the Caisson platoon, face painting and bling tattoos, and more until 2 p.m. Thanks to the EQUUS Foundation and other sponsors including Animal Planet, Comcast and Georgetown Cupcake, there will be giveaways and activities at all of their tables. In addition to watching talented equestrians of all ages compete in a unique indoor arena setting, WIHS welcomes audiences to browse shops, enjoy delicious snacks and mingle with horse enthusiasts.
"The Washington International Horse Show welcomes kids of all ages to come and enjoy a day full of equestrian fun and is thrilled to host Kid's Day," said Diana Hosford, WIHS Community Relations Director. "Due to weather, Kid's Day will be held inside Verizon Center on the main concourse, so unfortunately the pony rides and grooming stations have been cancelled for this year. However, we are excited that Kennard Real Bird will still be painting a pony on the concourse, and we will have exciting activities for everyone."
The Kennard Real Bird pony painting exhibition is to promote the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall exhibit, which shows how horses shaped the social, economic, cultural, and spiritual foundations of American Indian life.
The WIHS Silent Auction is set up on the Verizon Center main concourse and offers art, celebrity memorabilia, dining, wine and spirit packages, and equestrian goods among other items. The auction runs through Saturday night and bidders can browse and bid in person or online at http://wihs.maestroweb.com/.
All of the weekend's excitement leads up to the President's Cup Grand Prix on Saturday night, where leading riders from around the world will compete for $100,000 in prize money. Watch and cheer as some of the world's greatest riders and most athletic horses navigate a course of 1.60 meters that is both challenging in height and technicality.
Last year's $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix winners, Sapphire and McLain Ward
Ponies Highlight the Competition on Sunday!
On Sunday, the best ponies in the country will compete in three height divisions. The fan favorites are always fun to watch as they trot, canter, and jump their way to championship ribbons. Following the ponies are the WIHS Pony Equitation Classic and the Regional Hunter Finals for Horses and Ponies.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and can be purchased date at http://www.wihs.org/schedule/ or by calling 202-397-SEAT. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Verizon Center Box Office. Tune in live at http://www.wihs.org/stream/, follow the WIHS twitter feed @WIHS for on-time updates and check out Washington International Horse Show on Facebook for pictures, updates and videos from 2011 and years past.