8 Horse Contests to Watch


For centuries, horse contests and horse shows have been popular forms of entertainment. It isn’t only professionals and all-things-equestrian lovers who gather to witness amazing displays of skill. Horse racing contests, tent pegging contests or vaulting contests draw crowds of families and children.

In the United States, each horse contest and equestrian sport in regulated by the United States Equestrian Federation. Each year, members of the U.S. Equestrian Federation approve and license almost 3,000 horse contests. Some are technical, while others are displays of pure beauty and skills.

If the United States alone can boast close to 3,000 such competitions each year, imagine the wealth of horse contests around the world. We sifted through some of the most renowned horse competitions in the U.S. and worldwide and created a list just for you.

Cherry-pick your favorite event and book tickets in advance. They do sell like hot buns. We looked at the heritage of these horse competitions, the atmosphere they helped create over the years and general reviews. The disciplines and rubrics of each horse contest varies according to the long-standing tradition and the licenses granted by the U.S. Equestrian Federation in the U.S. and other institutions for competitions around the world. Enjoy!

1. Washington International Horse Show

The name gives away the location. This horse contest has a long-standing history that began in 1958. Every year since 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is hosted in Washington D.C. A high profile horse competition, the Washington International features horse contests for the junior and senior leagues.

Furthermore, the disciplines are so varied that the horse show typically gathers huge crowds interested to follow their favorite teams, discover new talents and simply admire the skill and beauty of the participating horses.

The Washington International Horse Show is ideal for families as well as those who take part in such an event for the first time. It offers a varied range of disciplines and a bit for everyone while focusing on classes for children, show jump horse contests and hunter-style competitions.

2. The Hampton Classic Horse Show

Unlike the first entry on our list, the Hampton Classic Horse Show is hosted outdoors in Bridgehampton, New York. It too has received a high-profile status from the U.S. Equestrian Federation: Heritage Competition.

Participants of all ages adore the largest horse contest in the United States. The Hampton Classic Horse Show has been held yearly for almost three decades now. Held in high regards for the Hunter and Jumper disciplines open to several competition levels, the Hampton Classic features a wider list of horse competitions. Check out their website and make sure you reserve the tickets in time.

3. The Devon Horse Show

The Devon Horse Show is one of the oldest heritage horse contests in the United States. Established in 1896, it has gained the title for one of the best-organized horse shows in the world. The wide variety of equestrian competitions featured in the Devon Horse Show have built a veritable culture and standards on their own.

Yearly, this is the place to admire carriage drawing contests, saddle riding, dressage competitions, jumpers and hunters’ competitions as well as elegant equitation. Side-events designed for children or horse photo contests have drawn the Devon Horse Show loads of attention.

4. The Germantown Charity Horse Show

Yes, this is a charitable horse show. Part of the funds raised during the Germantown Charity Horse Show are directed to the Exchange Club Family Center. The organization channels its efforts towards preventing child abuse. This year will mark the 16th edition of the charitable horse contests.

However, the horse contest hosted in Germantown, Tennessee will mark the 67th edition this year. It’s one of the equestrian competitions that are labeled as high profile. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that it lacks the family-friendly atmosphere.

The disciplines which are part of the competitions are open to several levels and age groups. Thus, children and adults can enjoy the shows unfurling before their stands.

5. Devon Dressage Show

Organized as an adjacent event to the Devon Horse Show, the Devon Dressage Show marked its first edition back in 1975. Since then, the Pennsylvania-based horse contest has made a name for itself for the Breed and Dressage exhibitions. Training classes are fascinating, as are the multiple exhibitions held throughout the six days of the Devon Dressage Shows.

6. Dubai World Cup

A relatively new entry on the must-watch horse contests list, the Dubai World Cup has the great merit to have put the United Arab Emirates on the map since 1996. Hosted in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates every year since 1996, this high-profile event is a one in a lifetime experience.

Even if you can’t be there in person, live streaming and recordings of the racetrack action is a must-see. With a coveted prize of $10 million dollars, the competition is always high standard and high quality.

7. The Grand National Horse Racing of Aintree

Hosted in lovely Aintree, England, the Grand National is certainly a different experience. The horse-racing competitions featured during the Grand National of Aintree see horses competing over a 4-mile track with 30 fences.

Conventionally hosted in early April, the event lasts for three days. Whether in the stands or from their favorite restaurants, the spectators hold their breath until their favorite horse sprints through the finish line. The Grand National certainly offers a different atmosphere and discipline styles. It’s a horse contest that must be watched live at least once.

8. Melbourne Cup

The Australian city of Melbourne hosts one of the most entertaining horse contests around the globe. The long-standing tradition was initiated in 1861 and has been held annually ever since. The distinguishing feature of this horse contest is the 3,200-meter course designed for horse racing.

With a valuable international presence, the Melbourne Cup is an event for all. Competitions are high-profile while side events are great fun. Unfortunately, there is no horse costume contest. Nonetheless, you can enjoy the Fashion on the Field contest, a costume and attire competition for the attendees.

These are just a few of the numerous horse contests that deserve every bit of attention from enthusiasts around the world. Nonetheless, they’re highly interactive, while their long-standing tradition ensures high quality and standards for the competitions.

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