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63rd Annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show, October 9-18

The majestic Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride will join with more than 1,200 of the winningest horses in North America to make the 63rd annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show an extravaganza of equestrian competition and entertainment. The show is held October 9-18, 2008 at the State Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, Harrisburg, PA.

The show is one of only four US venues for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride in 2008. The Musical Ride, which will appear each of the last four nights of the show, is a thrilling exhibition of precision horsemanship, as 32 perfectly matched horses and riders execute a variety of intricate figures and cavalry drill choreographed to stirring music. Outfitted in scarlet uniforms, tacked in ceremonial saddlery, a Canadian maple leaf brushed into the croup of each horse, the horses and riders perform with military precision in formation at the trot and canter.

The Pennsylvania National Horse Show is one of the nation's premier equestrian competitions, featuring over 1,200 of the best horses and riders from throughout North America in ten days of virtually nonstop competition. The show awards eleven national championships and more than $350,000 in prize money. Tens of thousands of horse enthusiasts throughout the region and across the US attend the will enjoy the unparalleled competition, family activities, excellent shopping, and the opportunity to watch the very best in equestrian sports in action.

The show's signature event is the $75,000 Budweiser Grand Prix de Penn National, held Saturday night, October 18 at 8 pm, in which Olympic and World Cup veterans ride fast and jump high over a challenging course of obstacles up to five feet high and six feet wide. These same elite riders bring a variety of horses, and each evening session, Tuesday through Friday, October 14-17, opens with a thrilling Open Jumper class.

The Pennsylvania National begins with four days of competition for junior riders under age 18. Among the eleven national championships decided at the PNHS is the Adequan/USEF National Junior Jumper Championships. Three legs of competition for teams from across the US and Canada and their individual members takes place Thursday through Saturday evenings, October 9-11. On Sunday, October 12, nearly 300 young equestrians ride for hunter equitation’s pinnacle, the prestigious Pessoa/USEF National Hunter Seat Medal Final. Thirty percent of past winners have gone on to represent the US in international competition.

Young riders also compete in the National Horse Show ‘Good Hands’ Saddle Seat Equitation Championship, held Thursday and Saturday afternoons, October 16 and 18. In addition, the PNHS will host the American Saddlebred Horse Association Northeastern Regional Championships, and the North American League championships for adult and children’s hunters and jumpers, open jumper speed horses and pony jumpers.

A week of competition for various breeds and disciplines begins Monday, October 13, as mid-Atlantic foxhunters gather for Hunt Night, featuring terrier races and a Parade of Hounds. Wednesday through Saturday, October 15-18, competitors include graceful hunters, thrilling jumpers, high-stepping American Saddlebreds, thundering draft horses, easy-going western horses, and speedy roadster horses and ponies. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride will appear each evening, October 15-17 between 8 and 9 pm, and on Saturday, October 18, as the final event, following the Grand Prix.

Kids love horses, and families can treat them to free pony rides and other activities on Saturday, October 11 and Friday, October 17, when one child 12 and under is admitted free with a paying adult. October 15 to 18, families can visit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and horses in their stabling area anytime between 9 am and 9 pm. Before and after their evening appearances, when the entire troop is present, kids can interact with each rider and collect baseball-style cards featuring officers and their mounts.

Shopping is so popular with both spectators and competitors that many visit the show mainly to shop. More than 50 vendors from across the country offer hours of shopping for exclusive apparel, furniture, fine arts, gifts, jewelry, equestrian supplies and much more.

Since its inception in 1945, the event has raised $1.5 million for youth literacy, educational, therapeutic and recreational programs through the Harrisburg Kiwanis Youth Foundation and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation.

October 9-14, general admission is $12 or $7 for seniors and children ages 12 and under. October 15-18, general admission is $18. Tickets are $10 for children and seniors October 15-17. No discounts are available Saturday, October 18. Reserved premium seating is available Grand Prix Night, Saturday, October 18, and tickets range from $22 to $50. The show begins at 8 am or earlier each day and continues through the evening every day but Sunday, Oct. 12, when it ends around 7 pm. A complete schedule is online at http://www.panational.org. General admission tickets are on sale now at http://panational.org/event-tickets.php. Reserved seats for Saturday night October 18 go on sale September 2 -- phone (717) 770-0222 weekdays between 9 am and 4 pm.


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