“For the Kentucky Horse Park to host one NARG Top 25 show is certainly a notable distinction,” said John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “Hosting three Top 25 shows is an immeasurable honor. This recognition is an example of what the Kentucky Horse Park has worked so long to achieve, and proves that the park is among the best facilities in the world.”
The North American Riders Group, representing the riders and owners in North America, is composed of the top horsemen from the United States, Canada and Mexico and was formed with the goal of improving the sport of show jumping. In the report of the NARG Top 25 Horse Shows of 2011, the group stated, "The North American Riders Group remains steadfast in achieving an essential goal - improving our sport so that once again show jumping in North America will rank among the greatest in the world."
The Alltech National Horse Show (ANHS), which debuted at the Kentucky Horse Park in October 2011, achieved the highest ranking for any American horse show, and achieved an overall rating of third among all horse shows in North America on the NARG list. This was the show’s 128th edition, having started in Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1883, and it is known as America’s oldest indoor horse show.
According to the NARG report, "Once one of the nation's most esteemed and celebrated indoor events, The National Horse Show is making a comeback. With the support of Alltech, as well as other sponsors, this year the renowned event relocated to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. It appears the show will remain at this home of the 2010 (Alltech FEI) World Equestrian Games (WEG) indefinitely, with great efforts to return it to its bygone excellence."
“We are thrilled that the Alltech National Horse Show has received such a prestigious ranking from the North American Riders Group,” Nicholson said. “To be recognized by a body whose primary purpose is furthering excellence in show jumping and equestrian sport is a measure of achievement for the National Horse Show team that has worked tirelessly for many years already to restore the show to its glory. The Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena is the perfect new home for this great show and we look forward to the next 100-plus years of its history.”
More than 560 horses and 350 riders from nine countries attended in 2011 and the show's debut this past season will go down in the record books as one of the most successful in the history of equestrian events in the United States. The second edition of the Alltech National Horse Show will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 2012, in the Alltech Arena.
Earning an overall ranking of 13 on the NARG report, the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows is a series of hunter jumper shows held back-to-back for two weeks in May. The Kentucky Spring Horse Show and the Kentucky Spring Classic have been held at the park for 20 years, and utilize the park’s Rolex Stadium, Covered Arena, Hunter Jumper Complex and other facilities.
According to the NARG report, “With the space and amenities to host some of the world’s best outdoor and indoor events, including the World Equestrian Games, the Rolex Three-Day Event, the National Horse Show, USHJA Hunter Derby Finals, North American Young Rider Championships and more, the Kentucky Horse Park is hands down one of the top venues in North America.” The report continues, “Currently with an A+ facility and the ranking classes it offers, the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows remains firmly in the NARG Top 25.”
The Kentucky Spring Horse Show will be held May 9-13, 2012 and the Kentucky Spring Classic will be held May 16-20, 2012. Produced by the same management group, the Kentucky Summer Horse Show will be held July 25-29, 2012 and the Kentucky Summer Classic will be held Aug. 1-5, 2012.
With an overall ranking of 14 on the NARG report, the Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) is a new event the park was able to attract and accommodate because of its new facilities. Held at the park since 2009, NAJYRC is the highest level competition for qualified young riders in North America to compete in the FEI (International Equestrian Federation) disciplines of Show Jumping, Dressage, Eventing and Reining in a challenging Nations Cup format.
According to the NARG report, “For many, simply landing in Lexington, KY is an experience in itself. Acres of bluegrass and beautiful barns span the roads to the Kentucky Horse Park. As we’ve noted the KHP is a fantastic place to host a championship competition, with 1,200 acres, multiple arenas and fantastic footing. Aside from some very hot and humid summer weather, it is a magnificent setting and a treasured time for those who have worked hard to earn a chance to compete at NAJYRC.”
The next Adequan FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships will be held July 18-22, 2012, and will utilize the Alltech Arena, Rolex Stadium, Covered Arena, Hunter Jumper Complex, Walnut Ring and other facilities.
The North American Riders Group developed the Top 25 ranking system to establish a clear measure of excellence among North America’s horse shows so as to evaluate them fairly so that they could be considered world class. According to the report, “Clearly it is mandatory that a select group of our North American horse shows be considered world class, not only for the benefit of our riders and our continent but also to draw riders from around the world to this side of the ocean to compete.”
“With thousands of multi-day horse shows in the US, Canada and Mexico each year, we only expect 25 events from those three countries to offer the proper mix of ingredients for the top level of our sport.” The report continues, “Whether the location is a large grass field transformed into a glorious grand prix or a multi-million dollar facility, each event should have fabulous footing, courses, ceremony, stabling, hospitality, healthy food, convenient accommodations, strong marketing and be managed by a knowledgeable, friendly staff. NARG divides these key ingredients into eight distinct categories and scores several aspects within each one.”
A copy of the full Top 25 Horse Shows of 2011 report is available at www.NARG.org.