Last night I went behind the scenes at the Washington International Horse Show. You could call it backstage, the area before the horses and their riders enter the arena to compete, but I didn't get a jittery vibe by the schooling ring, a tiny oval shaped ring with two five foot jumps set up so that riders can warm up before they compete. Everyone looked calm and collected as they navigated the tiny ring together.
It's quite a production to put the Washington International Horse Show on at Washington DC's Verizon Center. Imagine horses in the city! A street in downtown DC beside Verizon is blocked off and filled with stalls. The logistics and timing of getting horses in and out of the city in giant trailers is also a lot. Because the downstairs schooling area is small, many riders have odd times to warm up, like a midnight to 3AM lungeing session or Children's Jumpers at 4AM. That's a dedicated child!
The event is from October 20-25, 2009 and includes Dressage exhibitions, Jack Russell Terrier Races, Saturday evening's $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix, a Sunday afternoon barn day and more. I watched the Adult Jumper Championship last night and met various people for whom horses are a huge part of their lives.
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