Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the most iconic and prestigious equestrian showjumping competitions across the United States. Celebrating it’s 60th anniversary this year, the horse show is the nation’s leading metropolitan indoor competition located in downtown Washington D.C. at the Capitol One Arena.
(1959 Cover from the WIHS’s Inaugural year)
Over the years, notable Washington International Horse Show guests have included President John F. Kennedy, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, President Gerald R. Ford, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, William Shatner, Bruce Springsteen, General William Westmoreland, Christopher Reeve, John Cleese, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Arthur Godfrey, and many more.
(Left: Jackie Kennedy, Right: Nancy Reagan and Zsa Zsa Gabor)
More than 26,000 spectators attend this six-day Olympic level competition. Another fun fact: the standing North American indoor Land Rover Puissance (high jump) record of 7′ 7-1/2″ was set at Washington in 1983 by Anthony d’Ambrosio and Sweet ‘n’ Low. Today, we still see visits from regular celebrities, and the event continues to be one of the most exciting equestrian events in the United States. Qualifying list of riders for the Washington International Horse Show can be found here. We expect to see athletes like Georgina Bloomberg, Beezie Madden, Mclain Ward, Laura Kraut, and more for the International Jumper class. For the Performance Hunter division expect to see Scott Stewart, Victoria Colvin, and Archie Cox as some of the top names.
With over $500,000 in prize money and over 500 top horses and riders, highlights include the $135,000 Longines Jumping FEI World Cup™ Washington for the President’s Cup, presented by Events DC (Saturday night), the $25,000 Land Rover Puissance high jump on Military Night (Friday) and Kids’ Day, a free, fun and educational community event (Saturday).
Perfectly situated just before Halloween is ‘Barn Night’, an exciting event which includes the annual International Jumper Accumulator Costume Class. The barns are encouraged to route their team members on and many dress up in matching t-shirts or coordinating outfits to stand out in their sections in the stands.
Attending this year’s Washington International Horse Show? Wear your best equestrian style chic fall outfit and yes, wear your dressy equestrian boots. After all, you’re in downtown DC!