Following the overwhelmingly positive response to our 2010 Top 25 report, NARG's host of volunteers once again invested hundreds of hours to numerically evaluate 50 of the top horse shows in North America.
The 2011 results are an interesting mix of events – including a couple of Canadian champions, a promising new beginning for The National Horse Show, several new discoveries and two most improved shows.
Canada claimed the top two spots this year. The highest marks once again go to Spruce Meadows, a venue that continues to exemplify our aspirations for great sport in North America. The number two title this year goes to a Canadian discovery, Thunderbird Show Park. Both venues are tremendous places to compete and show jumpers should seriously consider adding these solid examples of top tournaments to their summer schedule.
Relocated to Lexington, the Alltech National Horse Show earned a top ranking this year. With the promise of recreating what once was, this indoor event could again bring brilliance back to the fall circuit.
Two of our nation’s most treasured traditional events rank in the top five this year, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair and The Hampton Classic. These shows have stood the test of time and continue to offer an outstanding experience for both the exhibitors and the spectators. By making big strides towards footing improvements, Devon also earned one of two NARG’s ‘Most Improved’ Awards this year. In 2011 Devon’s score improved by 6% and their ranking jumped five spots.
The second event to earn the NARG ‘Most Improved’ in 2011 is Old Salem Farm’s May series. Often plagued by wet weather, Old Salem’s new large sand arena ably handles the classes that the grass field cannot. Dedicated to becoming a premiere event, Old Salem’s score improved by 7% and their ranking also jumped three spots.
NARG acknowledges the effort required to produce a world-class equestrian competition. We value the open-mindedness with which horse show managers have considered our evaluations. These top managements are working hard to offer superb competition by putting sport first. As we continue to rank the Top 25 Shows each year, NARG feels confident that the quality of competitions as well as the number of top ranked international riders will increase as top horse shows continue to develop into world class events.
The Top 25 of 2011
The top SIX shows scored 80% or higher. To make the Top 25 a show had to score 69%, eight percent higher than 2010. Average score 76%.
1. Spruce Meadows – 92%
2. Thunderbird – 83%
3. Alltech National Horse Show – 83%
4. Devon Horse Show – 81%
5. Hampton Classic – 80%
6. Pennsylvania National Horse Show – 80%
7. Winter Equestrian Festival – 79%
8. New Albany Horse Show – 79%
9. Pin Oak Charity Horse Show – 77%
10. Del Mar National Horse Show – 77%
11. American Invitational – 76%
12. Pfizer Million Grand Prix – 75%
13. Kentucky Spring Horse Shows – 74%
14. North American Junior/Young Rider Championship – 74%
15. Washington International Horse Show – 74%
16. Sacramento Horse Show – 73%
17. The Royal – 73%
18. Xalapa – 73%
19. Bromont – 72%
20. Horse Shows by the Bay – 72 %
21. Old Salem Horse Show – 72%
22. Lake Placid Horse Show – 72%
23. Blenheim – 71%
24. Putnum Boston Classic – 70%
25. HITS Thermal – 69%
About the North American Riders Group – NARG
The North American Riders Group, NARG, remains steadfast in achieving an essential goal-improving our sport so that once again show jumping in North America will rank among the greatest in the world. It takes teamwork to achieve a goal of this magnitude. Representing the riders and owners in North America, NARG takes the necessary steps to work openly with show managements, governing bodies and associations, as collectively we all make up the team that must evolve with the times to see this come to fruition.
With your participation, NARG’s voice becomes incrementally stronger and clearer. To bring change we must be able to speak with a singular voice. Join us. Visit www.narg.org or call 561.386.4525 for more details.