1000 x 90

Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show: Celebrating 100 Years, 1923-2023

By Peter Morris

Once again, the horses have come to the High Country in record numbers as the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show began its three-month residency for extended weekends in June, July and August. Literally hundreds of riders and horses appear during these multi-day shows at the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve, with Saddlebred events and Hunter Jumper competitions that took place over the summer.

“The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the oldest continuous horse show in America. We were recognized by the United States Equestrian Federation as a Heritage Horse Show. We are honored to be recognized as one of the top horse shows in the country,” explained Burr Collier, President of the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation. “We have multiple generations of families who have been coming to our show for decades. The horse show has a tremendous economic impact on Blowing Rock and Watauga County.  Appalachian State University determined that these horse shows bring in nearly seven million dollars to the local economy.”

The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the oldest continuous horse show in America.
Photo by Peter Morris.

The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is the oldest continuous horse show in America. We were recognized by the United States Equestrian Federation as a Heritage Horse Show. We are honored to be recognized as one of the top horse shows in the country.

– BURR COLLIER

While the small town of Blowing Rock is generally experiencing the height of its summer season during the days between June and August, it can lay claim to “everything horsey” during the horse show’s run, with specialty trucks ferrying the breeds being dominate throughout its roads and byways, riders’ being commonplace sights in and out of their riding habits and shirts, hats and other clothing items being sold with the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show logos aplenty.

“This is a very exciting year for the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. We are celebrating the great milestone of our one-hundredth anniversary,” noted Collier.  “Being the oldest, continuous horse show in the country, Blowing Rock has persevered through world wars, the Great Depression, and most recently, the Covid pandemic.  We are excited to showcase significant improvements to our facility as we begin our next one hundred years.”

One of the High Country’s most popular seasonal events, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show generally attracts over 4000 visitors to witness its activities over the three weeks of the competitions, although Collier predicts this number will swell for its 2023 running, giving the show’s centennial celebration.

So important in the maintaining of the horse show is its multiple sponsors who, alongside many volunteers, help make the annual event a reality.

“As for our ever-important sponsors, we are blessed to have so many of them that love the Blowing Rock Horse Show, and we have drawn in some new people as well who also appreciate the history and the tradition,” added Collier. “We couldn’t do it without our sponsors. There are a lot of corporate-supported horse shows out there, which happen in places like Tryon, North Carolina; Wellington, Florida; Saugerties, New York, and Traverse City, Michigan, but we are unique as we are more of a boutique horse show. We are blessed with wonderful sponsors who care about our event and want to make sure this tradition lives on.”

Sponsorship for the Blowing Rock show includes a wide variety of competition classes available for sponsorship and various opportunities for supporting the show through smaller venues such as the Fine Harness Championship, 5-Gated Championship, and Meal Sponsorships. Sponsors of the show’s program include Allen Wealth Management, Budweiser, The Village Inns of Blowing Rock, Berkshire Hathaway, Tactical Fleet, Blue Ridge Mountain Club, Blowing Rock Realty and Investments, Sotheby’s International Realty, Finley House Couture and Monkee’s of Blowing Rock.

Also of importance is the word CHARITY in the show’s title. The annual funds raised go to entities such as the Blowing Rock Fire Department, the Blowing Rock Rotary Club, the Appalachian State University Equestrian Club, and various animal welfare organizations.

As previously noted, the Saddlebred competitions such as Show Rider Equitation, Academy Showmanship, and English Pleasure Hunt Seat were held on June’s first show weekend. In both July and August, the Hunter Jumper competitions, some of the most popular and exciting events, will reign supreme.

The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show will take place at its annual home, the LP Tate Showgrounds. For times, ticket information, directions and more, please go to brchs.org.

THROUGH THE YEARS: