23 Mar 2013

Popular Horse Shows in Florida

Popular Horse Shows in Florida

You wouldn’t expect the bogs and wetlands of Florida to be hospitable to horses, but the American state boasts a long and rich history of horse shows. Some of the most prestigious horse shows in the United States are held in Florida. The state even hosted the world famous National Horse Show from 2002-08.

Florida has a rich equestrian history. Florida economy was largely agrarian until the 19th century and depended deeply on the availability of horses. This has left a marked impact on equestrian culture in Florida, which can still be seen in the number of horse shows in the state. There is even a horse breed endemic to the state – the ‘Florida Cracker Horse’ – which is descended from horses of the Iberian peninsula.

According to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), there are over 200 recognized horse shows in Florida. Some of the most popular horse shows in Florida are:

1. FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix, Wellington

The Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre (PBIEC) in Wellington is the mecca of equestrian sports in Florida. PBIEC has the same regional reputation as the Kentucky derby and hosts a number of events all the year round. It even had the honour of hosting the National Horse Show between 2002 and 2008. There are also some horse racing events. Just as you can bet on the Kentucky derby at sites like Kentuckyderbybetting.com, you can also place bets on horse races at the PBIEC.

The FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix is a show jumping event held on March 30, 2013. It is organized by the Equestrian Sports Productions (ESP).

2. Tampa Charity Horse Show, Tampa

The Tampa Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest equestrian shows in Florida. It has been regularly organized for almost 80 years since 1933. The show is held at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club Stables and attracts some of the finest breeders from as far away as Texas and New Hampshire.

The show is held each year in the beginning of spring. This year, the show was held on March 15, despite some concerns over the recent outbreak of EHV-1 virus in Ocala.

3. Florida Reining Horse Association Show, Newberry

Reining is a uniquely American equestrian tradition. Originating in the grasslands and ranches of western America, reining horse events involve riders guiding the horse through multiple circles and stops. The purpose of reining is to showcase the agility and discipline of both horse and rider. Moves such as spinning and sliding stop are unique to the event and draw much appreciation from spectators.

The FRHA is among the top three National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) affiliates in the world. The FRHA will host a show on April 27-28 at the Canterbury Show Place in Newberry. The Canterbury Show Place is one of the newer horse facilities in Florida and hosts a number of events all around the year besides the FRHA.

4. Wellington Nations Cup, Wellington

The Wellington Nations Cup is the largest and most prestigious dressage event southern United States, not just Florida. Since it is a national show, teams composed of riders and horses from different nations compete against each other in dressage at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre (PBIEC). The show will be held between April 11-14 this year.

5. World Dressage Masters, Palm Beach

The World Dressage Masters (WDM) and is held in multiple venues all over the world, including Munich in Germany and Falsterbo in Sweden. As the highest endowed dressage show in the US, the WDM attracts riders from all over the world, including top European riders. Besides Munich and Falsterbo, the show is also held in palm Beach each year in early January. This year, the event was held between 24-27 January at the Jim Brandon Equestrian Centre in Palm Beach.

Horse racing and equestrian show enthusiasts have a rich spread to choose from in Florida. Wellington, Palm Beach, and Tampa are the three primary horse show locations in the state with dozens of equestrian centres that will delight all horse lovers.

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