2006 Washington International Horse Show Offers Variety of Fun Events for the Entire Equestrian

Phelps Media Group, Inc. International


The 2006 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) returns to the Verizon Center this year on October 24-29 in downtown Washington D.C. to host one of the most exciting and innovative horse show events in the country.

Equine-related events at WIHS include: adrenaline-fueled show jumpers, dancing dressage horses, classic equitation, picture-perfect hunters and action-packed barrel racers.

Many popular exhibitions from previous years will be brought back for this year’s show, including humorous terrier races, the enthusiastic Barn/Group Night, learning opportunities at the Pony Pavilion and a fully stocked vendor shopping mall. This year will also highlight new exhibitions, including the Media Celebrity Sports Challenge, a fast-paced polo game and a sneak preview of the new feature film, Flicka.

International show jumping is one of the most anticipated events at WIHS, which begin on Thursday with the $25,000 President’s Cup qualifier and the $20,000 Gambler’s Choice class. Friday evening, October 25, will see the Open Jumpers in the $20,000 Accumulator class, in which many of the top grand prix riders in the world will participate. They will have a chance to win additional prize money in the $25,000 Puissance, one of the most electrifying classes offered at the WIHS. The Puissance is a high jump class for horses, and riders often jumping over six feet. On Saturday afternoon, jumpers show their speed in the $20,000 Open Jumper Hit and Hurry Class.

The crowning event of the week, the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, will be held on Saturday evening. Last year’s thrilling grand prix win went to 25 year old Kent Farrington of Greenwich, CT, and Madison, owned by Alexa Weeks. Farrington is one of the most promising up and coming young riders for the United States. As a junior, he won the WIHS Equitation Finals, and more recently he was named as a U.S. representative at the 2006 FEI World Cup Show Jumping Finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

One of the newest and most well-attended spectator events is the WIHS Invitational Dressage Championship Grand Prix. The competition begins on Thursday evening with the grand prix portion, and concludes on Friday evening with the freestyle class.

The top hunters in the nation show throughout the week in their respective divisions, and there is a special hunter exhibition added to the schedule this year. The ultimate competition is on Saturday afternoon with the American Hunter Jumper Foundation Nations’ Cup Hunter Challenge, which will consist of teams of international jumper riders and juniors competing in a two round hunter challenge.

The WIHS Equitation Finals will be held on Saturday evening before the President’s Cup Grand Prix. The class will feature the very best junior riders in the country who compete in two phases and are judged on their poise and control of the horse.

The terrier races, which always delight the crowd with their antics, begin their tournament action on Thursday night and continue through Saturday night, and top barrel racers from around the country will dash for prizes on Thursday and Friday evenings. Side saddle classes are another interesting class to watch on Thursday evening. New for 2006 is a polo match exhibition, which will showcase the talents of polo riders and their ponies, which can gallop fast and turn on a dime.

Perhaps the most exhilarating event for local young riders is Barn/Group Night, where teams from different stables show their support for various grand prix riders. The teams will have the opportunity to win various prizes, such as gift certificates, riding books, grooming supplies, jewelry, and everyone will walk away a winner with a t-shirt prize.

In addition to exciting classes and exhibitions, the WIHS hosts a vendor shopping mall that has various booths selling everything from horse tack and supplements to clothing, jewelry, artwork, and official WIHS souvenirs.

There will be a Celebrity Media Sports Challenge, which will consist of local media celebrities, sports figures, and grand prix riders competing as a team to finish a course of jumps.

With the release of the new movie, “Flicka,” the WIHS will introduce a life-sized horse statue that will move to landmarks around town and will eventually be included in the horse show’s silent auction.

On Saturday, WIHS will host the “Pony Pavilion,” which gives youngsters the opportunity to meet horses face to face and learn about basic horse care. There also will be pony rides available.

The Washington International Horse Show has expanded its events and exhibitions for 2006 and invites everyone, equestrians or not, to this incredible horse show. With the variety of offerings throughout six days of competition, the WIHS is sure to have something for everyone.

Photo Credit: Kent Farrington and Madison, winners of the 2005 $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix at the Washington International Horse Show. Photo © 2005 Diana DeRosa.

Washington International Horse Show Fast Facts

What: 48th Annual Washington International Horse Show, a championship event with top horses and riders from the U.S. and abroad, competing for more than $400,000 in prize money and championship titles. Approximately 600 horses compete in the six-day event. Riders from Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Brazil and Ireland are expected to participate at the show in the Olympic sport of show jumping.

When: October 24 - 29, 2006 (Local Weekend: October 20-22 at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, Upper Marlboro, Maryland)

Where: Verizon Center, 7th and F Streets NW, Washington, D.C., home of the Washington International Horse Show since 2000, as well as professional and college sports teams including the NBA Wizards, the NHL Capitals, the WNBA Mystics and the Georgetown Hoyas, concerts, family shows and sporting events.

Highlights: $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, $25,000 Puissance class, Washington International Invitational Dressage Championship, Barrel Racing, Terrier Races and Side Saddle classes.

General Information:

The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) has been one of the world's top championship horse shows since 1958. Originally based at the Washington D.C. Armory, it moved to the U.S. Air Arena in Prince George’s County in 1975. Since 2000, it has been in its present location at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C. Each October, the WIHS brings the "country to the city" with local streets adjacent to the Verizon Center turned over to stabling and exercise areas for the finest horses and riders in the country.

Riders of all ages – from children as young as six riding ponies to mature riders in their 40’s and 50’s on powerful jumpers and dressage horses – compete throughout the year and throughout the country to qualify to ride at Washington.

Thursday evening’s “Barn/Group Night” is a favorite with local young riders, who attend in groups and vie for prizes based on best group spirit, best essay, largest group, etc. Groups also walk the course with grand prix riders after the Gambler’s Choice show jumping competition.

On Saturday afternoon, children can get up close and personal with their four-footed friends in the Pony Pavilion where they can pet and ride ponies, learn how to groom, and much more.

The show offers a special opportunity for amateur riders living within 100 miles of Washington D.C. who otherwise may not be able to compete at this top event. Local children and adult amateur hunter riders may compete in a qualifying event October 21-22 at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The top finishers will compete in the WIHS Local Hunter Finals at the Verizon Center on Sunday.

The Washington International Horse Show also is a great place to shop. More than 60 vendors set up booths on the arena concourse with jewelry, crafts, saddlery and unique items. In addition, visitors may bid on one-of-a-kind items in the silent auction, including vacations, art, wine, equestrian items and sports tickets. For information about this year's specialty vendors, visit www.wihs.org.

The WIHS is a 501(c) 3 charitable organization, which has benefited many local and national groups, including the Christopher Reeve Foundation, NBC4’s Camp 4 Kids, Canine Companions for Independence, ASPCA, Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health, Partners in Education, Community Services for Autistic Adults & Children, National Center for Therapeutic Riding, Starlight Starbright Foundation-Midatlantic, etc.

Horse Show Office: 16063 Comprint Circle, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, (301) 987-9400, Fax: (301) 987-9461, website: www.wihs.org, Executive Director: Susan Webb, Susie@wihs.org

Public Relations: Diana De Rosa, Press Link: (631) 773-6155, Cell: (516) 848-4867, dderosa1@optonline.net, website: www.presslinkpr.com

Media: Phelps Media Group/Mason Phelps, Jr. (561) 753-3389, mpjr@phelpsmediagroup.com. Press releases and photos are available at http://www.phelpsmediagroup.com. For accreditation, visit http://www.wihs.org/news/media.cfm and complete a media accreditation form.

2006 Washington International Horse Show Tickets and Schedule ***Program subject to change***

Tickets - www.ticketmaster.com or call 202-397-SEAT

Performance Day Evening Evening VIP**
Tuesday $15 $20 $40
Wednesday $15 $20 $40
Thursday $15 $30* $45*
Friday $15 $35 $60
Saturday $20 $35 $60
Sunday $15 --- ---

*Barn Night Groups (10 or more) receive $5 off each ticket on Thursday night. **VIP seats include premium arena-level seating and a complimentary WIHS program book ($10 value).

Tentative Schedule:

Tuesday, Oct. 24: Daytime performance: Regular and Green Conformation Hunters; First/Second Year Green Hunters; Regular Working Hunters; Amateur/Owner Hunters (Riders 35 & Under and Over 35); Evening performance: WIHS Children's Hunter and Adult Hunter Championships

Wednesday, Oct. 25: Daytime performance: Regular Working and Regular Conformation Hunters; Second Year Green and Green Conformation Hunters; A/O Hunter (35 & Under and Over 35); Amateur/Owner Jumpers; Evening performance: WIHS Children's Jumper Championships and Adult Jumper Championships

Thursday, Oct. 26 (BARN/GROUP NIGHT): Daytime performance: Small Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Large Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Small Junior Hunters (16-17), Large Junior Hunters (16-17); $25,000 President's Cup Qualifier; Amateur/Owner Jumpers, Junior Jumpers; Evening performance: WIHS Invitational Dressage Championship Grand Prix; $20,000 Gambler's Choice, Side Saddle, Barrel Racing, Terrier Races

Friday, Oct. 27: Daytime performance: Small Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Large Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Small Junior Hunters (16-17), Large Junior Hunters (16-17); WIHS Equitation; Amateur/Owner Jumpers; Junior. Jumpers TFR (time first round); $25,000 Open Jumpers; Evening performance: Polo, WIHS Invitational Dressage Championship Freestyle; $20,000 Accumulator Class, $25,000 Puissance, Barrel Racing, Terrier Races

Saturday, Oct. 28: Daytime performance: Small, Medium and Large Pony Hunters; $20,000 Hit & Hurry Class; Junior Jumpers; Pony Pavilion; Evening performance: WIHS Equitation Classic (Jumper Phase & Final work-off); $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix, Terrier Races, Dressage

Sunday, Oct. 29: Small, Medium and Large Pony Hunters; WIHS Pony Equitation Classic; Local Hunter Finals (Horses); Local Hunter Finals (Ponies)



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