Hunters and Jumpers at 93rd Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show July 27 to Aug. 7

Published Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 1:13 pm

From July 27 to August 7, 400 of America’s most accomplished show hunters and jumpers will converge on this historic resort town in the North Carolina mountains for the 93rd consecutive Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. For two weeks riders and horses will compete for more than $116,000 in prizes at the fabled L. M. Tate Show Grounds. If you have never been to a horse show, this is the one to see.

Show Chair, Burr Collier said, “Along with some class realignments for exhibitors, we are excited about the visual improvements we have made this year. We’ve added especially designed fences for the hunter competitions that will reflect the rustic charm and character of our North Carolina Mountains. We’ve also added some badly need new in-gates to create a more appealing presentation for both exhibitors and fans.” He added, “Nothing is as easy as it once was. The Foundation is charged with maintaining a cherished tradition in Blowing Rock, and we are pledged to do our very best to keep this horse show a key stop on the east coast summer circuit.”

Hunter competitions are decided entirely on the horse’s performance. Judges determine which horse comes closest to the ideal mount for a ride to the hounds. There are classes for horses “on the flat” where the horse’s movement, and style are judged. But the true test of a seasoned hunter requires a flawless performance over a course of fences, all designed to resemble the obstacles typically found in the hunt field. There are multiple divisions for young horses, and young riders as well as classes dominated by professionals with their seasoned show circuit mounts.

Winning hunters must be the complete opposite of their Saddlebred cousins which were showing in the same arena just a few weeks ago. Unlike the high stepping glamour of the Saddlebred, the show hunter’s movement must reflect a quiet demeanor. A relaxed horse with an aware expression will catch a judge’s attention. The rider should demonstrate little motion, and appear to be as relaxed as the horse. The “trip” around the course of jumps should not look like work for either horse or rider.

While judging hunters is largely subjective in that officials pick the horses they like the best, judging jumpers is totally objective. It’s so simple someone seeing a jumping competition for the first time can do the judging. The rail stays up or the rail comes down. The cleanest, fastest round wins. A jumper course can involve as many as 14 obstacles with 17 jumping efforts. The jump-off round between horses with no fault rounds is shorter and much faster. The jumpers will be the most thrilling part of your day at the Blowing Rock Horse Show.

Grandstand tickets are $10 for the entire day with in-and-out privileges for everyone. The Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve is located at 1500 Laurel Lane off highway 221, one mile from Main Street. Food concessions are available on the grounds, and a spectacular Vendor’s Row offers a variety of shopping opportunities to keep horse lovers and horse watchers busy between classes.

For more information call 828-295-4700 or visit the web site at www.blowingrockhorses.com. There you will find a detailed spectator’s guide http://blowingrockhorses.com/blowing-rock-charity-horse-show/spectator-guide/ and time schedules for both weeks.

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