Serious Competition turns into Barrel of Laughs at 2006 WIHS

The 2006 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) serves as one of the country's most prestigious and competitive indoor equestrian events, with prominent riders, Olympic veterans, and superstar equinesThe 2006 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) serves as one of the country's most prestigious and competitive indoor equestrian events, with prominent riders, Olympic veterans, and superstar equines

Story originally posted by Staff

Washington, D.C. – October 2, 2006 – The 2006 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) serves as one of the country’s most prestigious and competitive indoor equestrian events, with prominent riders, Olympic veterans, and superstar equines competing for top honors and fabulous prize money. WIHS is held from October 24 – 29, 2006, at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., home of the Washington International Horse Show since the year 2000.

One of the annual highlights at WIHS is the intensely fast-paced Barrel Racing. This year, the barrel racing exhibition includes ten talented women who will race for time around barrels at heart stopping speed. Some of the leading ladies from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, American Professional Rodeo Association, National Barrel Horse Association, and the J-W Ranch Barrel Series will race against one another, with the top four competing in an additional run against four show jumpers mounted on barrel racing horses.

This event is always a crowd favorite, and the show jumping enthusiasts enjoy seeing equestrian athletes compete in a discipline different from their own. The Barrel Racing action will start on Thursday, October 26, with an evening competition and continue the following evening, Friday, October 27.

The 2006 WIHS Barrel Racers include: Ann Religh of Spring Grove, PA, who was 2005 WIHS Champion; Judy Merola of Pennsgrove, NJ, the 2003 WIHS Champion; Carol Kerstetter of Milton, PA, the 2004 WIHS Champion; Beth Borrowy of Opperco, MD; Sandra Pomakala from New Egypt, NJ; Lorraine Bytheway of Glen Mills, PA; Katie Codd of Westminster, MD; Kelsey Free of Greencastle, PA; Illeen Hannah of Oxford, PA; and Lisa Barone of Yorksprings, PA.

The serious side of competition is lightened when the Show Jumping athletes join in the fun. Although they are top athletes in their disciplines, they never get to practice barrel racing and the awkwardness of using different equipment and riding aids is often comical.

Candace King, one of our country’s top Grand Prix Show Jumpers, competed in last year’s barrel racing competition and reported, "All of us had a blast last year. I think it’s good for the crowd, and it’s fun for us as competitors to take part in something a little different. I grew up riding Western, so it was like riding a bike. I hope to have the opportunity again this year!"

Grand Prix Show Jumper Todd Minikus competed in the barrel racing competition at last year’s event as well. He offered the comment, "It’s a lot of fun, and I think the spectators really enjoyed it. I think there are more common denominators than uncommon when it comes to different disciplines of riding. I would be happy to participate in the event again."

Join the Washington International Horse Show crowd as they cheer on the leading ladies of Barrel Racing and our nation’s top show jumpers in this special event! In addition, the many exciting events this year at WIHS include the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, the $25,000 Puissance, Invitational Dressage Championship, Terrier Races, and Side Saddle.

For more information on the Washington International Horse Show, please visit their official website at

Washington International Horse Show Fast Facts
What: Now in its 48th year, the Washington International Horse Show is one of the world’s leading equestrian events. It features top horses and riders from the U.S. and abroad competing for more than $400,000 in prize money and championship titles. Approximately 600 horses will be on hand for the six-day event. Riders from Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Brazil and Ireland are expected to participate at the show in the Olympic sport of show jumping.

October 24 – 29, 2006

Verizon Center at 601 F Street NW (7th and F Streets NW), Washington, D.C., home of the Washington International Horse Show since 2000, as well as professional and college sports teams including the NBA Wizards, the NHL Capitals, the WNBA Mystics and the Georgetown Hoyas, concerts, family shows and sporting events. ***Take Metrorail or Metrobus to Gallery Place-Chinatown for an easy trip to the show.


General Information:
The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), one of the nation’s leading championship horse shows since 1958, hosts some of the finest horses and riders from the U.S. and abroad, including Olympic and World Cup medalists. Unique among horse shows, the WIHS takes place in the middle of a city, and not just any city–the nation’s capital! For six days, the WIHS transforms local city streets around the Verizon Center into stabling and exercise areas for hundreds of horses. Show jumping, hunter, equitation and dressage competition is the mainstay of the show, with entertaining exhibitions of racing terriers, a celebrity sports challenge and barrel racing rounding out a very full program. Riders of all ages – from children as young as seven riding ponies to experienced riders well into their 50’s on powerful jumpers and dressage horses – compete throughout the year and throughout the country to qualify to ride at Washington.


New this year is side saddle, with riders evoking the elegance and style of past eras, the AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge, an innovative hunter competition pairing WIHS equitation (junior) riders with international show jumping riders, and a polo exhibition.

Barn/Group Night, Thurs, Oct. 26, is a favorite with local young riders who attend in groups and vie for prizes based on best group spirit, best essay, largest group, etc. All participants get a free tee-shirt and have the unique opportunity to walk the show jumping course with grand prix riders (and get autographs) following the $20,000 Gamblers Choice class. On Saturday afternoon, younger children will enjoy pony rides, face painting and horse-based learning activities at the Pony Pavilion located just outside the Verizon Center.

More than 60 vendors offering equestrian gear, apparel, jewelry and other unique items are conveniently located on the concourse around the competition arena. Spectators also may bid on more than 60 unique and one-of-a-kind items in the Silent Auction.

WIHS Local Weekend offers local amateur riders, who otherwise may not qualify, a chance to ride at the Washington International. Local children and adult amateur hunter riders based within 100 miles of Washington, D.C. may compete in a qualifying event Oct. 20-22 at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Md., with the top finishers eligible to ride in the WIHS Local Hunter Finals at the Verizon Center on Sunday, October 29th.

The WIHS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization benefiting local and national charities. Current and past donation recipients include the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, NBC4’s Camp 4 Kids, ASPCA, Childrens’ Inn at the National Institutes of Health, Community Services for Autistic Adults & Children, National Center for Therapeutic Riding, Newspapers in Education, Starlight Starbright Foundation-Midatlantic, and many more.

Horse Show Office:
16063 Comprint Circle, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, (301) 987-9400, Fax: (301) 987-9461, website:, Executive Director: Susie Webb,

2006 Washington International Horse Show
Tickets and Schedule ***Program subject to change***
Hours: Two performances daily except Sunday: Day (Tues-Sun): 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Evening: (Tues-Sat): 7:00-10:30 p.m. (ending times approx.)
Tickets – or call 202-397-SEAT
Anytime Package: $85 (a $235 value); good for all 11 performances.
Pony Pavilion: Tickets for the Pony Pavilion available only at the Pony Pavilion on Sat., Oct. 28, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Entry by donation. Donations of $5 or $10 are readily accepted at the Pony Pavilion with net proceeds going to the Meadowbrook Foundation.
*Barn Night/Groups (10 or more) receive $5 off each ticket on Thursday night only.
**VIP seats include premium arena-level seating and a complimentary WIHS program book ($10 value).
Students, Seniors, and Military save $5 off tickets for Sat., Oct. 28 daytime performance, with proper ID. (Excludes VIP tickets.)
Metro Special: Save $5 off tickets for any performance with presentation of bus or rail Metro card. (Excludes VIP tickets.)
***Discount offers cannot be combined.

Tentative Schedule:
Tuesday, Oct. 24: Daytime performance: Regular and Green Conformation Hunters; First/Second Year Green Hunters; Regular Working Hunters; Amateur/Owner Hunters (Riders 35 & Under and Over 35); Evening performance: WIHS Children’s Hunter and Adult Hunter Championships

Wednesday, Oct. 25: Daytime performance: Regular Working and Regular Conformation Hunters; Second Year Green and Green Conformation Hunters; A/O Hunter (35 & Under and Over 35); Amateur/Owner Jumpers; Evening performance: WIHS Children’s Jumper Championships and Adult Jumper Championships

Thursday, Oct. 26 (BARN/GROUP NIGHT): Daytime performance: Small Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Large Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Small Junior Hunters (16-17), Large Junior Hunters (16-17); $25,000 President’s Cup Qualifier; Amateur/Owner Jumpers, Junior Jumpers; Evening performance: WIHS Invitational Dressage Championship Grand Prix; $20,000 Gambler’s Choice, Side Saddle, Barrel Racing, Terrier Races

Friday, Oct. 27: Daytime performance: Small Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Large Junior Hunters (15 & Under); Small Junior Hunters (16-17), Large Junior Hunters (16-17); WIHS Equitation; Amateur/Owner Jumpers; Junior. Jumpers TFR (time first round); $25,000 Open Jumpers; Evening performance: Polo, WIHS Invitational Dressage Championship Freestyle; $20,000 Accumulator Class, $25,000 Puissance, Barrel Racing, Terrier Races

Saturday, Oct. 28: Daytime performance: Small, Medium and Large Pony Hunters; $20,000 Hit & Hurry Class; Media Sports Celebrity Challenge; $15,000 AHJF Nations Cup Hunter Challenge; Junior Jumpers; Pony Pavilion; Evening performance: WIHS Equitation Classic (Jumper Phase & Final work-off); $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, Terrier Races

Sunday, Oct. 29: Small, Medium and Large Pony Hunters; WIHS Pony Equitation Classic; Local Hunter Finals (Horses); Local Hunter Finals (Ponies)