One of the best things about getting involved with equestrian activities is the wide range of possibilities! High fashion or low pressure, sedate or with sawdust flying — there’s a competition for everyone to enjoy!
If you’re taking riding lessons and wanting to begin competing yourself, your instructor will probably know your best options. Getting out to see dressage or showjumping in person, or to cheer at steeplechase events and even a derby, though — any of these are a lovely way to spend a spring day! Here are a few you might like to catch:
Image courtesy of Tryon Riding and Hunt Club
Tryon Block House Steeplechase Races
Tryon, North Carolina | April 16, 2022
The Tryon International Equestrian Center is home to the event’s 74th running this year, the oldest steeplechase event in western North Carolina. Dancing the night before to the Super 60s and tailgating the day of help to make these jump races some of the best attended in the South. For decades, contests have included best hat, tailgating, and “Go-to-Hell” pants, children’s stick horse races, and more. Carriage rides, music, and a massive Easter egg hunt round out activities. More information at www.tryonridingandhuntclub.org and www.tryon.com.
Image courtesy of delmarvalife.com (Photo credit: Jim Graham)
Winterthur’s Point-to-Point Steeplechase
Wilmington, Delaware | May 8, 2022
The Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library is home to one of the most impressive American decorative arts experiences available anywhere, and one of the most fun steeplechase races too. Its magnificent 175-room home is surrounded by 1,000 acres of protected land that includes a 60-acre garden and the Winterthur Hunt area, home to the annual Point-to-Point races that offer steeplechase racing, pageantry, and fun for all ages. Crafts and contests, a marketplace, community-provided activities will round out your day. More information at www.winterthurptp.org or www.winterthur.org.
Louisville, Kentucky | May 7, 2022
Churchill Downs is a legendary racetrack, and its signature event is unparalleled in its spectators’ style and its horses’ speed. Its traditions set the Derby apart from other races, including celebrity spectators, the mint julep (with almost 120,000 served each year), and extravagant hats worn by nearly all women in attendance. Plan your hat for sun protection, of course, but also for maximum statement-making! Also, Louisville stretches a famous two-minute ride into the month-long Derby Festival, bringing the community together for the month before the actual “Run for the Roses,” as the race is known. The more than 70 festival events include fireworks, outdoor music events, cycling and running events, and even a race of historic paddle-wheelers down the Ohio River. More information at www.kentuckyderby.com or www.kdf.org.
Mesquite Championship Rodeo
Image courtesy of truewestmagazine.com
Mesquite, Texas | Saturdays, June 4–August 27
Just a fifteen-minute drive outside of Dallas, the Mesquite Rodeo is a great stop that can offer lots of interactive amenities in the greater area, from “authentic Texas trail rides” to “dive-in movies,” and onsite shopping and activities each summer weekend. Since the mid-1940’s, the Mesquite Rodeo has offered prizes for bareback and bronc riding, barrel racing and steer wrestling, and high-energy fun for all. More information at www.mesquiterodeo.com or www.visitmesquitetx.com.