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Wellington lands National Horse Show

When every friend I have in the USA is sending me e-mails telling me that the 119th National Horse Show (which is the oldest indoor horse show in the USA), is to move to Wellington in Palm Beach Florida, then you had better believe, that's a BIG deal. The event is now to be held on Thanksgiving weekend, running from Nov. 26, through Dec. 1, and will include the traditional Maclay National Championship for junior riders.

The Madison Square Garden Show officials who are responsible for the future success of the show made their decision after careful consideration of the problems and restrictions involved with staying at the old venue. National Horse Show chairman and president of Stadium Jumping, Eugene R. Mische, commented "Due to the basketball and hockey schedules, we could not get a contract for our particular sanctioned dates for more than one year," further adding that "Without that guarantee, it didn't make any sense to spend money to build a spectator base."
The Wellington venue immediately removes old problems such as time constraints, restricted participation due to having only one ring and insufficient stabling, which resulted in several divisions, including adults, being excluded from the Garden but more importantly Wellington offers a few new advantages. Based at The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club, with its multi-ring outdoor facility, this most venerable and established of events could well have found itself room to blossom further in years to come when exposed to the Florida sunshine!

In the past, of the more than 1,000 juniors competing in Maclay qualifying classes, only the top 50 were chosen for the finals last year. With the expanded facility this year, 100 riders will make it to the finals in Wellington. Perhaps for some holding the show on Thanksgiving weekend is somewhat inconvenience, but it was the only sanctioned date available at the Wellington facility in November. On the positive side, kids are out of school that weekend, where as for the indoors Garden event kids usually had to miss school. At the moment the suggestion is that in order to allow families to enjoy their Thanksgiving Day, classes might only be held on the Thursday morning.

I personally hope that the move is well received by competitors and those who support them. Knowing the showground, the facilities and Gene Misch quite well I can assure those who are doubtful that the new venue and the staff who run the facility are nothing short of superb and quite professionals.

By John Crawford. Copyright © 2002, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


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