In our third show review of the season, US’ Catherine Pasmore writes about her experiences at the Washington International Horse Show last weekend. And as Catherine discovered; the love for the sport came alive in the heart of D.C!
“I arrived at Washington having no idea what to expect. I live in Virginia, only about 3 hours away, but surprisingly I had never had the opportunity to compete at this iconic American show before.
I drove past the White House, Washington Monument, and several other government buildings on the way to the hotel. After checking in, I didn’t need to ask for directions to the show. You couldn’t miss the Verizon Center. The big screens hanging outside the building had pictures and videos of the horse show from years past. The outside stabling was secured with a wire fence around it, also providing a billboard of posters to promote the show. A very unusual, yet impressive, sight to see in downtown Washington D.C., even for the frequent horse-shower such as myself!
The FEI horses were able to have inside stabling. I was thankful that my two horses, Bonanza van Paemel and Zaragosa, are not claustrophobic because the aisles couldn’t have been any smaller. We became very cozy with our neighbors!
The arena was in use 24 hours a day, all week! The hunters showed all morning, Junior and Amateur jumpers went in the late afternoon, and the Open Jumpers went only in the evening. After the last class, all the jumps were cleared from the ring. The schooling area is so small, there is not enough room to ride while another class is going on. The show had to open the main arena to give people a place to hack. Between 11PM and 6:30AM, there was a designated 30-45 minutes for every division to have a chance to ride. The open jumpers could ride between 5:45 and 6:30AM. Every minute of the day (and night) was organized.
Although showing so late in the evening can be hard, I fortunately did not have any other responsibilities throughout the day. I was only at the show from around 5PM to 11PM, so I was still able get plenty of sleep and explore the area.
My favorite part of the show was seeing the kids’ involvement. On Saturday, I loved see all young kids going on pony rides outside the Monaco Hotel on Kid's Day, something the WIHS puts on every year as community outreach. I had a unique opportunity to have lunch with Katie Dinan and the WIHS Junior Committee. They were such great group of dedicated young ladies. I also had an opportunity to sign autographs alongside Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, and several other top riders. They had so many fans who wanted pictures, posters, shirts, hats, saddle pads, and even iPhones autographed. It was great to see the love for the sport come alive in the heart of D.C.
The open speed classes throughout the week were built for the experienced speed horses. Taking a younger horse for experience was not the best idea. The crowd really got into classes such as the Gambler’s Choice Costume Class. All the kids were cheering for their favorite character (I was Dorothy riding Toto), so having a nice jump-around was not an option.
The classes for the Grand Prix horses were excellent. The jump-off class on Thursday was technical and had a short time allowed, and it was the first of Kent Farrington’s double win of the week. The class prepared everyone for the challenging maze of jumps course designer Leopoldo Palacios laid out for us for the World Cup qualifier Grand Prix on Saturday night. Only Brianne Goutal and Kent Farrington were able to clear the first round. Kent took home the win aboard Blue Angel. I had ‘b’ of the triple combination down and a time fault, but still finished 8th and gained valuable points towards going to World Cup Finals in 2014!
All in all, it was a fantastic experience, and I hope to be back next year.”
As told by Catherine Pasmore
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