Are you a Quarter Horse enthusiast? You already have one or more Quarter horses or you’ve always dreamt of owning one? Do you tend to keep track of Quarter Horse competitions? Then the All American Quarter Horse Congress is the right place for you. Horse enthusiasts, professional breeders or just ordinary people, gather from all over the world, for the largest single-breed American Quarter Horse show.
In 2015, the show arrives once again in Columbus, Ohio, at the Ohio Expo Center, on October 2nd, and it’s meant to last until October 25th. For its 49th annual event, the show gathers a total of 17,000 horse show entries. 2015’s Congress will house an estimated 8,500 registered American Quarter Horses during a remarkable three-week schedule.
As everyone is welcome, the organizers expect to surpass last year’s record of 650.000 participants and to continue a long series of successful congresses. Horse trading, accessories, horse riding, cattle tie and many others are on the show’s schedule.
American Quarter Horse Congress Events
Anyone can attend this congress, no matter the age. Quarter horse enthusiasts, farmers or western fans, everyone is welcome. Even so, for some events, there may be an age-restriction. Check if there is any restriction before purchasing the tickets.
For the western fans, besides the extraordinary shows that are expected, the organizers announced more than 250 vendors selling not only riding gear, but also Western boots, cowhide chairs, deer-antler chandeliers, and almost anything and everything with a Western theme. All these vendors, and more, will be in the 7-acre Bricker Building, so don’t forget to pay them a visit before going home.
The American Quarter Horse Congress attracts every year more than 600,000 visitors from all over the world. A remarkable number of visitors that boosts Ohio’s economy and that make Quarter Horses even more famous.
The Congress is a unique opportunity to see, try or/and buy a variety of horse-related items, if not even horses. The best part, besides horses, is the extraordinary people that come to this event. Make friends, try new gear and let yourself amazed by this month-long event.
Dates to Remember
Thursday, October 8 – Mercuria National Cutting Horse Association World Series of Cutting and Cinch Bridleless Cutting
Friday, October 9 – Professional Bull Riders Touring Pro
Saturday, October 10 – Weaver Leather Freestyle Reining
Saturday, October 17 – Congress Super Sale
Sunday, October 18 – National Youth Activity Team Tournament Awards Ceremony and Congress Queen Coronation
Saturday, October 24 – Congress 2-Year-Old Masters Western Pleasure and Congress 2-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle futurities
The Actual Show
This congress guarantees one of the friendliest atmospheres I’ve ever seen, and somehow, even the horses seem to enjoy all the attention that is given to them. Despite the fact that there are a number of shows, rodeos, and outdoor activities, quarter horses remain the main attraction of the event. With about 8000 horses expected to be showcased, the attendees will get the chance to see, touch and photograph a variety of horses that come in all colors and shapes.
Intelligent, beautiful creatures, the quarter horses can be admired, pet and even rode. As a plus, riding lessons and demonstrations are available for participants of all ages, so this may be your chance to ride for the first time.
During this three-week event, you will get to see quarter horses doing what they do best. Be that Western events such as cutting, pole bending, walking, hunter hack, reining and barrel or English events such as dressage (classical and contemporary), endurance riding, horse-ball, show jumping, polo jumping, and racing, there’s something there for each and every one.
If you’re not that much into events, there is a beauty contest. Perfectly groomed horses will try to show their skills and their beauty, to impress the judges. Braided manes, perfect tails, polished or even painted hooves, oil coats, clipped muzzles, this show is a true human-like beauty pageant. Both horses and owners spend hours getting ready for the chance of a lifetime: take part in a high-end horse fashion show.
For all those who are not so interested in fashion and beauty pageants, there are plenty of vendors that sell machines, tools and equipment such as tractors, horse trailers, lawn mowers and many others. If you get tired or hungry, don’t worry…you won’t have to graze with the horse. A wide selection of beverages and foods are provided by the organizers: kettle corn, juicy steaks, cinnamon rolls, or international food, beer or fizzy drinks from several outdoor bars. This place is like the horses’ wonderland, and I can assure you that you won’t want to go home.
Still, you may want to leave your stilettos or any type of uncomfortable shoes home. Take some really light weighted casual clothes and comfy shoes. The place is quite huge and you don’t want to get tired and leave without visiting everything. A huge plus, if you have a dog, and you don’t want to let it all alone at home, you don’t have to worry any more, as dogs are allowed
Funny fact: sometimes, competitors’ dogs nearly outnumber the horses.
American Quarter Horse Congress: Prices
First of all, walk-ins are free. If you’re walking you won’t have to pay anything, for you or for your dog (if you decide to take it with you). Every day the access is allowed starting with 12.00am.
Admission, by vehicle, to the congress, costs $25 for a full-day or $70 for the whole event. You may want to gather all your friends and take them with you. Like this, you can split the price, and the ticket it will be much cheaper. Admission includes access to all events except for a few events such as Cinch Freestyle Reining, or the Equine Chronicle Congress Masters Event. Another event for which you will have to purchase a separate ticket is the Congress Cutting Event.
You will have special prices in certain days. For example, from Monday to Wednesday, the price for admission is 15 dollars.
Competitions are generally free, but there are a few that may require to book in advance or to register.
Ticket for Freestyle reining or bull riding can be bought online on the Ohio Quarter Horse Congress & Association website (OQHA.com). On the other hand, all tickets for courses, congress, and classes can be purchased from the Celeste reception during congress days.
Before starting your adventure in this Horses Wonderland, you may want to purchase the full program of the congress. For only $5, you will get to find out all the necessary information about the congress, not to mention that it comes with a map that will show you, where you can find anything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Being friendly is a true policy of the congress, as well as big smiles, and having a great time among the best horses in the world.
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Photo credit: www.iequine.com, www.equinechronicle.com, www.experiencecolumbus.com, www.aqha.com, americashorsedaily.com