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2006 Washington International Horse Show Offers Fun Events for the Entire Family

Washington, D.C. – July 18, 2006 – The 2006 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) returns to the Verizon Center this year on October 24-29 in downtown Washington D.C. to host one of the most exciting and innovative horse show events in the country.

Equine-related events at WIHS include: adrenaline-fueled show jumpers, dancing dressage horses, classic equitation, picture-perfect hunters and action-packed barrel racers.

Many popular exhibitions from previous years will be brought back for this year’s show, including humorous terrier races, the enthusiastic Barn/Group Night, learning opportunities at the Pony Pavilion and a fully stocked vendor shopping mall. This year will also highlight new exhibitions, including the Media Celebrity Sports Challenge, a fast-paced polo game and a sneak preview of the new feature film, Flicka.

International show jumping is one of the most anticipated events at WIHS, which begin on Thursday with the $25,000 President’s Cup qualifier and the $20,000 Gambler’s Choice class. Friday evening, October 25, will see the Open Jumpers in the $20,000 Accumulator class, in which many of the top grand prix riders in the world will participate.

They will have a chance to win additional prize money in the $25,000 Puissance, one of the most electrifying classes offered at the WIHS. The Puissance is a high jump class for horses, and riders often jumping over six feet. On Saturday afternoon, jumpers show their speed in the $20,000 Open Jumper Hit and Hurry Class.

The crowning event of the week, the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, will be held on Saturday evening. Last year’s thrilling grand prix win went to 25 year old Kent Farrington of Greenwich, CT, and Madison, owned by Alexa Weeks. Farrington is one of the most promising up and coming young riders for the United States. As a junior, he won the WIHS Equitation Finals, and more recently he was named as a U.S. representative at the 2006 FEI World Cup Show Jumping Finals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

One of the newest and most well-attended spectator events is the WIHS Invitational Dressage Championship Grand Prix. The competition begins on Thursday evening with the grand prix portion, and concludes on Friday evening with the freestyle class.

The top hunters in the nation show throughout the week in their respective divisions, and there is a special hunter exhibition added to the schedule this year. The ultimate competition is on Saturday afternoon with the American Hunter Jumper Foundation Nations’ Cup Hunter Challenge, which will consist of teams of international jumper riders and juniors competing in a two round hunter challenge.

The WIHS Equitation Finals will be held on Saturday evening before the President’s Cup Grand Prix. The class will feature the very best junior riders in the country who compete in two phases and are judged on their poise and control of the horse.

The terrier races, which always delight the crowd with their antics, begin their tournament action on Thursday night and continue through Saturday night, and top barrel racers from around the country will dash for prizes on Thursday and Friday evenings. Side saddle classes are another interesting class to watch on Thursday evening. New for 2006 is a polo match exhibition, which will showcase the talents of polo riders and their ponies, which can gallop fast and turn on a dime.

Perhaps the most exhilarating event for local young riders is Barn/Group Night, where teams from different stables show their support for various grand prix riders. The teams will have the opportunity to win various prizes, such as gift certificates, riding books, grooming supplies, jewelry, and everyone will walk away a winner with a t-shirt prize.

In addition to exciting classes and exhibitions, the WIHS hosts a vendor shopping mall that has various booths selling everything from horse tack and supplements to clothing, jewelry, artwork, and official WIHS souvenirs.

There will be a Celebrity Media Sports Challenge, which will consist of local media celebrities, sports figures, and grand prix riders competing as a team to finish a course of jumps.

With the release of the new movie, “Flicka,” the WIHS will introduce a life-sized horse statue that will move to landmarks around town and will eventually be included in the horse show’s silent auction.

On Saturday, WIHS will host the “Pony Pavilion,” which gives youngsters the opportunity to meet horses face to face and learn about basic horse care. There also will be pony rides available.

The Washington International Horse Show has expanded its events and exhibitions for 2006 and invites everyone, equestrians or not, to this incredible horse show. With the variety of offerings throughout six days of competition, the WIHS is sure to have something for everyone.

Photo Credit: Kent Farrington and Madison, winners of the 2005 $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix at the Washington International Horse Show. Photo © 2005 Diana DeRosa

This special report is a preview provided by PhelpsSports.com. Look for the debut of this new equestrian news website during the World Equestrian Games in August. Visit http://www.PhelpsSports.com for more information.


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