It was hard to ignore the onslaught of press releases that flooded my inbox over the weekend. Since I make it my own personal mission to stay abreast of all the horse news one can sanely handle, I’m on at least half a dozen equine industry media and association email lists. Equine media groups only seem to be multiplying these days, and sometimes I get the same news from three different groups. . . but it’s all good.
The bottom line is that it was a great weekend for grand prix show jumping. Across the country, $255,000 in prize money was given away in five classes; $100,000 between two classes at HITS Saugerties in New York, $70,000 at the Kentucky Summer Shows, $30,000 at Horse Shows by the Bay in Michigan, $30,000 at Sonoma Horse Park in Northern California, and $25,000 at ShowPark in Southern California. That’s pretty healthy, and it’s not even counting the classics, jumper derbies, or the $20,000 combined hunter derby prize money given out on both coasts yesterday. Then there was the North American Young Riders Championships in Kentucky. Even though the juniors don’t ride for prize money it was the biggest weekend of the year for them, too. Incredibly, all that still doesn’t compare to Europe; between just the Hickstead Nations Cup, Hickstead GP and San Patrignano CSI5* European riders competed for €900,000 in prize money over the weekend.
I don’t get a chance to watch enough grand prix classes, so it was a treat to visit the Sonoma Horse Park for the first time on Saturday for that class. Half of my barn is there showing, and as official West Coast Sidelines writer, I had to make sure that our ring banner was straight (it was) and that the wine in the VIP tent passed muster (affirmative.) My first trip there definitely won’t be my last! (Hopefully one day I’ll be accompanied by the sound version of my horse.) Here are a few pictures, more evidence that I’m slowly improving my action shot skills. With a zoom lens and a little more practice and I might be worthy enough to take photos at WEG. Maybe.
Pretty pretty views at the Sonoma Horse Park
Branding is everything. SHP oxer, front and center.
Sidelines banner, check.
If you’re anywhere on the West Coast, you should make the effort to check out SHP – this is only its first year of operation, and from vendors to VIP tent to competition, they are knocking it out of the park. And it was great to see Mandy Porter, who traveled 500 miles north from her base in San Diego, win the class!