At six o’ clock on Saturday evening, I found myself amongst a group of horse enthusiasts in the Verizon Center in Washington DC. The venue was transformed into an equestrian paradise, with vendors lining the way into the heart of the stadium. I have always been a sucker for jewelry featuring horse bits. Take a look at these beautiful equestrian bracelets found browsing through the vendors of the arena…
The evening’s events began with the equitation final work-off. The top ten competitors all had to switch mounts and execute a course for the third phase of the competition. The technical course was made even more difficult for the riders when placed on top of an unfamiliar horse. In the end, 18 year old Elizabeth Benson came out on top, with a final score of 270.832. Hasbrouck Donavon followed in second place, and Jacob Pope finished third.
Guy McLean and his Australian Stock Horses mesmerized the audience through a 20 minute performance in between classes. His magnificent display of athletic ability and obedience showed the true majesty of these beautiful creatures.
The evening concluded with the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix. This class was the highlight of my evening, featuring many popular international riders and highly athletic horses. Of the 28 competitors, only 9 accomplished a clear round. Once the dirt settled from the jump-off, results were announced. Reed Kessler, aboard Cylana, finished in first place. Paulo Santana of Brazil came in second, and Australia’s Matt Williams finished third. Overall, the experience was exciting and entertaining witnessing top riders enter the large indoor arena, I was in awe of the horse and rider athletes both at the junior and professional levels.