Capital Challenge Horse Show Rolls Out the Red Carpet For Nation’s Equestrians
By Lauren Fisher
Celebrating 21 years of exceptional equestrian competition, the Capital Challenge Horse Show (CCHS) returns to Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this fall from September 27 – October 5, 2014. One of the nation’s premier indoor horse shows, CCHS celebrates every level of equestrian athlete, from children getting their start on ponies to professionals showing top horses, and everything between. No matter the level of horse or rider, one thing remains constant at CCHS, and that it is a fantastic appreciation and recognition of all competitors.
When horse show managers Oliver Kennedy and Billy Glass created the Capital Challenge Horse Show, they dreamed of an indoor competition that would change the standards and set itself apart from all others. The pair created new classes, came up with innovative divisions and championships, brought amazing new sponsors to the sport, and hosted special presentations for each and every class. The attention to detail did not go unnoticed, and the high-level of competition and wonderful reception at CCHS has drawn top equestrians from coast to coast.
Capital Challenge prides itself on being a show for exhibitors. Along with a great range of divisions for all horses and riders, the show offers a fantastic facility, extensive winner’s presentations, and great hospitality. They host more than 1,000 horses, award 27 perpetual trophies including World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) champions, and host special presentations for every winner.
In championship classes where riders are judged under saddle, a unique pinning format brings the top competitors into the line-up one by one in reverse order, showcasing the top finishers and leaving the champion on the rail for a special round of honor as places are announced. In addition to special prize giving ceremonies and winning photographs, the triumphant horses and riders all get an exciting victory gallop to show off their ribbons and prizes. From the top echelon of the sport to the emerging young athletes, CCHS tries to make its competition a first-class event where winning a class really means something.
The Capital Challenge Horse Show offers competition in two show rings – one outdoor and one indoor, the Show Place Arena. With ample schooling ring space including a large covered arena, and availability to school in the show rings, CCHS makes it easy for horses and riders to compete at their very best. Many of the divisions begin with classes outdoors and continue indoors, which is a great way for horses and riders to get a wonderful warm-up and a great experience as they make the transition to the next indoor competition in the fall season.
In addition to the regular line-up of hunter/jumper classes, exciting hunter championships, and special divisions for the exhibition of young horses, the show hosts equitation finals for many levels.
The 2014 Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal Final celebrates 21 years at CCHS as one of the first championship classes that Kennedy and Glass developed upon the show’s inception. The final serves as a great stepping stone for young riders moving up to the big equitation classes in their junior careers.
Providing the next step in equitation success, the Private Tutoring Services North American Equitation Championships are a wonderful experience, and serve as excellent preparation for juniors heading to the major indoor equitation finals each fall.
For the amateurs, the Ariat National Adult Medal Final, which started during the second year of CCHS competition, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. These championships provide a great goal for riders to pursue throughout the season as they compete all year to qualify for a coveted position in the final.
CCHS offers a great variety of competition in addition to its equitation events, also setting itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Competition begins with its Equitation Weekend, presented by Bigeq.com, on September 27-28. The show continues through October 5 featuring the popular Developing Pro Rider Challenge and North American Future Hunter Championships. Other features include the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Professional Finals and the Ariat North American Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Challenge Cup. As always, the horse show is proud to join with the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) to present the year-end World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) classes and awards.
CCHS announced some exciting new changes to its competition this year, including revisions to the Future Hunter qualifications in an effort to align with current USEF regulations. Per revised rules for qualification under the USEF’s Pre-Green Incentive Program, CCHS Future Hunter (Pre-Green) divisions will only be open to horses that are eligible to compete as a pre-green hunter.
All horses competing in the Future Hunter divisions will have the opportunity to qualify for the coveted North American Future Hunter Championship. Many consider this class one of the most exciting events of the season as it showcases some of the most promising young horses in the country and has produced many of the nation’s top hunters over the years. The championship class is open to the top six in each of the Future Hunter sections and will offer an increased purse of $25,000 this year.
In addition to Future Hunter changes, CCHS has added a Junior Hunter 3’3” division, providing even more opportunities for the up-and-coming young riders in the country to showcase their top horses. The division will run on the final weekend of competition, October 4-5.
The Capital Challenge Horse Show looks forward to welcoming horses and riders for its 21st year of exceptional competition this fall. For more information, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org or visit the Capital Challenge Horse Show page on Facebook and on Twitter at @capchallenge!