The Del Mar National Horse Show and What You Need to Know

You don’t have to go all the way to the Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, KY to see incredible examples of athleticism and horsemanship. Instead, you can stay right here in San Diego and attend the Del Mar National Horse Show. Held for three weeks each spring, this exciting affair brings exquisite horses and their impressive handlers to the area for competitions and events you don’t want to miss!

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The History of the Del Mar National Horse Show

For over 70 years, the Del Mar National has been an important part of San Diego history. It was founded in 1946 as part of the annual San Diego County Fair. But, by 1979, its popularity outgrew the fair and it became its own separate event each spring.

Now, the Del Mar National Horse Show is a three-week event that brings stunning showmanship and beautiful horses to the San Diego area. Along with talented professional riders, the best amateurs and junior riders who will go on to with national acclaim often debut here first. The Del Mar National Horse Show is a multidisciplinary equestrian competition that is divided into three distinct weeks, Western Week, Dressage Week, and Hunter-Jumper Week.

Western Week

Each year, Western Week kicks off the Del Mar National Horse Show with four American Quarter Horse Association and Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association shows and National Reining Horse Association classes. Throughout the week, you’ll witness stunning examples of elite reining, pleasure, and trail horsemen at work. Then, the week ends with a wonderful Night of the Horse show on Saturday.

Dressage Week

Next up, Dressage Week brings past Olympic, international, and national champions to the arena to compete for at a variety of horse riding shows. A strong performance during Dressage Week at the Del Mar Horse Show helps competitors qualify for future events like the Olympic and World Cup Selection Trials, The Dutta Corp./USEF National Grand Prix & Intermediaire Championships, and several junior and young rider events. Then, at the end of the week, you will enjoy an Evening of Musical Freestyles showcasing Olympic and World Champion level horses and riders.  

Hunter-Jumper Week

If you’re looking for an action packed day at the Del Mar National Horse Show, attend Hunter-Jumper Week. Riders and their horses test their speed and agility at several exciting competitions including the $25,000 Surfside Grand Prix and must-see crown jewel, the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar.

Mark Your Calendar for the 2017 Del Mar National Horse Show

This year, the Del Mar National Horse Show is scheduled for April 18- May 7, 2017.  The three-week event will kick off with Western Week, April 18-22. Then, Dressage Week will follow April 27-30. Finally, Jumper Week is May 2-7. During this time there are three major horse shows you don’t want to miss:

  • Night of the Horse on Saturday, April 22
  • Evening of Musical Freestyles on Saturday, April 29
  • $100,000 Grand Prix on Saturday, May 6

You can purchase tickets to these events and find more information online today!

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