40 Fabulous Years – The Hampton Classic Horse Show

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Celebrating its 40th anniversary in spectacular style, the annual Hampton Classic Horse Show returned to Bridgehampton, New York with festivities kicking off on August 23rd.

Since the landmark year of 1975, Olympic and Pan American Games medal winners have competed in this traditional equestrian event, which has only grown bigger and better over the years.  Highlighting this year’s show were two-time Olympic gold medal winners Beezie Madden and McLain Ward.  Riding high on his horse Rothchild, McLain Ward is an accomplished veteran in the horseback riding community, having won the Hampton Classic Grand Prix a record six times.

Accompanying Ward is Beezie Madden, who has been named the U.S.E.F. Equestrian of the Year four times.  She is also the only woman to win the prestigious Longines King George V Gold Cup in Hickstead, England in its 109 year history, and also for the second year in a row.

International competitors included Irish man Kevin Babington, who is entered on Shorapur, which he rode to victory last year in the $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix and recently garnered 2nd place at the Grand Prix of Ireland at the Dublin horse show.

Showcasing the Hampton Classic this year was the $250,000 Grand Prix CS14, sponsored by Longines, on Sunday, August 30th. Qualifying activities for Sunday’s featured event ran on Friday with the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix.  Adding to the fun during this year’s competition was the Longines Rider Challenge, which awards $30,000 and custom made Longines sports watch to the rider who accumulates the most points during the Open Jumper Division throughout the 7-day competition.

Widely known for accommodating equestrians of all ages and skill levels, the Hampton Classic offers more than 100 classes of competition.  A wide range of hunter and jumper classes are featured, whether you happen to be a novice, an experienced veteran approaching the Grand Prix level, or even a rider with disabilities.

Spread out across 60 scenic acres, the Hampton’s Classic boasts six show rings, 70 vendors, and virtually something for all horse riding aficionados; as its popularity has grown with every passing year, attracting celebrities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Joel, and Jon Bon Jovi, among others.

The pinnacle event took place on the seventh and final day.  “Grand Prix Sunday” awarded large cash prizes ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 among three championship finals, spotlighted by the Hampton Grand Prix Classic.  Capturing the top prize on Sunday was Karen Polle (from New York City) guiding “With Wings” to first place in 47.96 seconds.  “Babalou 41” finished in 2nd place, ridden by Todd Minikus in 43.89 seconds, but with four faults.  Other winners include Chris Sorenson on top of “Bobby” garnering 3rd place, while Megan Nusz won a respectable 4th place with “Dynamo” in 47.58 seconds.

Yes, 40 is definitely fabulous for this one of a kind horse showplace, entertaining thousands of spectators every year with horseback riding talent from across the country; ranging from experts to beginners.

J.P. Wattron

About Jim Wattron

Jim graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, with a degree in Business Administration. Jim has worked with the team from the beginning and he consistently strives for innovation with refreshing topics that inspire readers with context of new adventures and happenings, locally and internationally. Read more from this author.