Social Scene Sizzles At The 119th National Horse Show
Florida---December 2, 2002---The 119th National Horse Show, held
for the first time at The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington,
Florida, concluded yesterday. The National, founded in 1883 by
members of New Yorks Social Register, traditionally brings
together the best horses and riders in the U. S. competing for
some of the most prestigious and lucrative prizes in the equestrian
More than 57,000 spectators jammed the stands and enjoyed the
competitions and exhibitions during the six-day show. Sponsors
The Palm Beach Post, Lexus, BET, Adequan and Kilkenny Insurance
were gratified to have been associated with such a successful
But what was the equestrian in-crowd up to during those six days?
During the day, those in the know wined and dined, while watching
the competition, at The Diamond Horseshoe Club Tent, overlooking
The Internationale Arena. An elaborate continental breakfast started
each day off at 8am, with lunch and beverages served beginning
at 11:30am --- all with proper linens, china, crystal and silverware.
The Diamond Horseshoe Club Tent, exquisitely appointed with flower-filled
window boxes, wainscoting and chandeliers, was by far the best
place to see and be seen during the week.
Tuesdays Opening Night Cocktail Party at The Palm Beach
Equestrian Country Club attracted over 150 riders, trainers, owners
and sponsors. Served hors doeuvres and beverages, plus an
elegant buffet surrounding a huge ice sculpture of a horses
head, set the tone for the week.
On Wednesday evening, over 200 attended a private party at the
gorgeous home of Mr. and Mrs. Randolph V. Aversano located in
The Palm Beach Polo Club.
Thursday was Thanksgiving Day. The shows abbreviated schedule
that day allowed one and all to enjoy the latter part of the day
with family and friends.
Friday evenings Jumping Under The Stars black-tie
gala was the high point of the weeks social schedule. Co-chairmen
Mason Phelps, Jr. and Beverly Lake Wilkes oversaw the hugely successful
event. Held in The Diamond Horseshoe Club Tent, over 400 of the
equestrian worlds crème de la crème came out
to enjoy the festivities while watching the evenings competitions
in The Internationale Arena. Familiar owner/exhibitor/sponsor
names, loyal supporters of U.S. equestrian sports for many, many
years, were in attendance: names such as Firestone, Goodman, Phelps,
Matz, Wilkes, Clarke, Lloyd, Steinwedell, Currey, Hooker, Henry
and Sutton, to name but a few. The five-course dinner was exquisite,
and the partygoers did not leave until well after midnight.
After Saturdays competitions, an exhibitor barbeque was
held, where casual and relaxed were the operative moods.
All in all, the social set had a full schedule and left exhausted
and exhilarated, soon to return to Wellington for the beginning
of The Winter Equestrian Festival in January 2003.