How do you celebrate 60 years of one of the nation’s top horse shows? The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) marks its 60th anniversary with a nod to history, plenty of competition from today’s top horses, and a peek at the future of the sport. A full schedule of entertainment is lined up with pint-sized racers galloping in the WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase Championship, presented by Charles Owen, The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, and famous Australian horseman Guy McLean’s amazing bridleless exhibition. All the magic happens October 23-28, 2018, at the Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C.
All four members of the gold medal-winning NetJets U.S. Jumping Team from the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) are entered to compete and will be honored Saturday night before the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington, presented by Events DC. Throughout the week, top professional, amateur and junior riders will go head-to-head in world-class jumping competitions. Spectators can also take in entertaining exhibitions, boutique shopping, and community and charity events.
Marking 60 Years
To mark the 60th anniversary, the ticket price for Tuesday, October 23 is just $2 – the same price as the very first WIHS in 1958! And show programs are also selling for the 1958 price as well – just $1!
Competition for the Washington International Horse Show was originally held at the National Guard Armory, shown here in 1973.
Photo courtesy of WIHS
Fans will get to relive highlights from the past 60 years of WIHS in the “Through the Decades” historic timeline exhibit, presented by AmerisourceBergen/MWI Animal Health. Memorabilia, including a display of WIHS posters through the years and a unique exhibit showcasing U.S. presidents and their horses, will be on display.
Philip Smucker, journalist, descendent of George Washington and author of “Riding with George: Sportsmanship & Chivalry in the Making of America’s First President”, will walk the concourse dressed as George Washington, greeting fans, signing books and taking photos.
Show Jumping at its Best
International jumper classes at WIHS are thrilling not just because they showcase some of the best horses and riders in the world, but also because each night has a special twist.
Last year saw U.S. rider Andy Kocher competing as a clown in the costume accumulator class. Photo by Alden Corrigan Media
Thursday night, which is also Barn Night, highlights the $40,000 International Jumper Welcome Class and one of the most popular classes, the $35,000 International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class. Riders plan their elaborate costumes for the costume class all week, using feathers, sequins, paint, wigs and more to transform themselves—and their horses!
The winner of the puissance class at the 2017 WIHS was Aaron Vale, who took the top prize for the second year in a row with Finou 4.
Photo by Ashley Neuhof Photography
Friday night is Military Night presented by Caterpillar, Inc. and shines the spotlight on just how high the horses can jump and how fast they can go. The night starts with the $50,000 International Jumper Speed Final, where it’s all about the fastest time. Then comes the amazing $25,000 Land Rover International Jumper Puissance High Jump, where horses and riders gallop to an enormous wall in a quest to find out just how high they can jump. The record of 7 feet, 7 ½ inches was set in 1983 and every year riders try to write their name in the history books by breaking that record.
Saturday night at WIHS it’s all on the line for future stars and today’s top jumpers. The evening performance starts with the country’s best under-18 riders in their final round vying for one of the most coveted year-end titles—the Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals. They show off their versatility by switching horses and riding a horse they’ve just met. The class is known for finding the stars of tomorrow, as former champions like McLain Ward (1993), Kent Farrington (1999), and Christine McCrea (1996) have gone on to win medals for the U.S. jumping team in international championships.
Riders like Ward, Farrington, McCrea, and many more from around the world will jump in the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington, presented by Events DC for the President’s Cup. It’s not only one of the most prestigious titles on the U.S. jumping calendar, but also an important step for riders aiming for the 2019 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals, held in April in Gothenburg, Sweden. Riders will be vying for valuable points to qualify for the Final in addition to adding their name to the winner’s trophy this year.
Attending the Washington International Horse Show
Everyone is also invited to participate in various community events taking place during WIHS. Stop by Breakfast with the Mounted Police on Wednesday, October 24 (8-10 a.m. in front of Hotel Monaco at 700 F Street NW) to meet the officers and their mounts.
Now in its third year, the WIHS First Responders Ticket Program will honor local Fire, EMS, Police and other First Responders, offering complimentary tickets to First Responders and their families. Since its inception in 2010, the WIHS Military Ticket Program, presented by Man O’ War Project at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, has successfully distributed more than 26,500 tickets to area families, helping further our goal of giving back to the military community.
WIHS Kids’ Day gives local D.C. community children a chance to share the joy of horses. Presented by the WIHS Junior Committee, Kids’ Day is a free, fun, family-friendly event on Saturday, October 27 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.). More than a dozen hands-on educational and fun activities, including pony rides, a Horseless Horse Show, coloring station, face painting, pony brushing lessons from Rokeby Farm Stables, plus giveaways from Georgetown Cupcake, fill the street and arena concourse.
Mini Cooper the miniature horse was on hand to greet everyone who attended Kids’ Day at WIHS. Photo by Alden Corrigan Media.
Photo by Alden Corrigan Media
Klinger, the famous horse from the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon, attends as a special guest to greet the children while Mini Cooper, is available for hugs and kisses! Rain or shine, outdoor activities will be held in front of the Hotel Monaco at 700 F Street NW (the street will be closed for the event) and face painting and other events will be held on the Capital One Arena concourse.
This year, WIHS is also partnering with Billy & Blaze Film Partners in promoting their upcoming movie, “Billy and Blaze”, based on the beloved 1930s C.W. Anderson book. Fans can meet Blaze the pony and learn more about the Billy and Blaze movie during Barn Night and Kids’ Day.
Support Charity and Socialize
Nightly parties with skybox level views of thrilling equestrian competition at WIHS not only offer the chance to enjoy the experience with friends and family but also to support WIHS partner charities.
WIHS recognizes that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month with its annual WIHS Buck Breast Cancer Benefit on Thursday evening, October 25. Partygoers will celebrate the lives of survivors, friends, and family and also have a chance to cheer on riders as they clear the Clear for the Cure “pink ribbon” fence in the International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class. A portion of each ticket will benefit the Capital Breast Care Center.
During Friday evening’s Military Night, presented by Caterpillar, Inc., WIHS welcomes the military, supporters, and their families to celebrate an evening honoring our servicemen and servicewomen. The WIHS Armed Forces Reception, presented by RBC Wealth Management, plays host to members of local military organizations in a celebration of our nation’s heroes and you can join them to show your support. Proceeds from the Armed Forces Reception benefit TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), the WIHS Official Military Charity since 2010.
Attendees of Saturday night’s President’s Cup Party can rub elbows with elite equestrian athletes and familiar faces of the D.C. social scene as they celebrate 60 years of horses and history at WIHS. The USET Foundation is the beneficiary of the President’s Cup Party, with the goal of assisting our equestrian athletes in accomplishing their goals.
Join in the celebration of sport and philanthropy and purchase a ticket to one of the parties today. Tickets are $150 and include full buffet dinner and open bar. Visit www.wihs.org/social-events/ to purchase tickets, or email email@example.com or call 202-525-3679 for more information.
The 60th annual Washington International Horse Show will take place Oct. 23-28 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.com and at Capital One Arena (formerly Verizon Center) Box Office.
Starting at just $25 (along with a special price on Tuesday, Oct. 23!), WIHS tickets may be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com or at the Capital One Arena Box Office. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more through Capital One Arena Group Sales. Call 202-661-5061 for details.
Preparing to compete at WIHS? Do you have a Barn Night group together? Are you excited for Kids’ Day? Are you attending as a vendor? Join the conversation and be sure to tag WIHS on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat posts and use our hashtags! #HorsesInTheCity #WIHS2018 #WIHSTurns60
For more information, please visit www.wihs.org.
Source: Press release by Jump Media for Washington International Horse Show
Photos: © WIHS / Shawn McMillen / Alden Corrigan / Ashley Neuhof