When it comes to horse show venues, it's the details that matter. Whether it's show jumping or dressage, the best venues deliver more than a location. They deliver an experience. When done right, a special excitement fills the air for both exhibitors and fans and leads to life-long memories. Among the many horse show venues in North America, these ten most embody the spirit and pageantry that makes the equestrian disciplines an enduring sport.
Nestled in the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains, Spruce Meadows is a stunning venue. Not content to rest on past reputation alone, Spruce Meadows continually improves its facilities to provide the best equestrian experience for both competitors and fans. Testifying to its prestige, Spruce Meadows was recently the venue for the final selection of both the United States and Canadian Olympic Show jumping teams. Where Spruce Meadows truly excels is in delivering an Olympic class experience whether you are an exhibitor, or a family looking for a unique excursion.
Devon Horse Show Grounds
Located a half hour northwest of Philadelphia, Devon Horse Show Grounds combines old-world charm with top-tier facilities to provide visitors with a uniquely American experience. Founded in 1896, The Devon Horse Show is the oldest and largest outdoor competition in the United States. However, the Devon experience is about more than just horse shows. Visitors are invited to dine on tea sandwiches and Devon fudge while taking in the Ferris Wheel, barbershop quartets, fancy hats, and all the unique vendors that the venue offers. Whether hosting world-class competitions or the annual county fair, Devon Horse Show Grounds embodies their motto, "Where Champions Meet."
Thunderbird Equestrian Show Park
Just a few hours north of Seattle, Thunderbird Equestrian Show Park is a must for anyone interested in west coast horse show venues. Located in scenic Langley, British Columbia, Thunderbird is home to six major international tournaments, featuring, three FEI Tournaments, two World Cup Qualifiers, and the World Championship Hunter Rider Program. The venue features a grass field that is maintained in pristine condition, as well as fantastic footing and well-groomed trails throughout the property.
Thanks to the backing on one of the sport's top sponsors, Alltech Arena has become the standard by which indoor horse shows are measured. From show jumping to shopping, fine dining, and fabulous parties, the Alltech National Horse Show delivers visitors an unparalleled experience. This stellar combination has made the arena a top destination for both international competitors and fans.
Del Mar National Horse Show Fairgrounds
The Del Mar National Horse Show Fairgrounds has a history of hosting top-tier equestrian events dating back to 1946. One of only two horse show venues in the western United States to host a World Cup, the Del Mar National Horse Show has earned its reputation as the toughest and most exciting world-class equestrian event in Southern California. The Del Mar National brings the best of Southern California to visitors, offering over two weeks of Western, Dressage, and Hunter/Jumper events to visitors.
PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center
The Pennsylvania Show Complex and Expo Center brings the charm of colonial Harrisburg, PA to the annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show. With a stellar indoor facility, top course design, experienced staff, and devoted group of top riders, the PA Farm Show Complex and Expo Center has been delivering a top equestrian experience for over 67 years. The venue's Prix de States Team Championship and Pessoa/US National Hunter Seat Final horse shows draw junior riders in droves each year, and recent improvements to the facilities have drawn accolades from exhibitors.
The Hampton Classic Showgrounds
The Hampton Classic is one of the must-attend events of the summer season, drawing a crowd of celebrities, politicians, and sponsors each year. Guests mingle with VIPs, enjoying local gourmet dishes while visiting boutique vendors and exhibitors. For over three decades, the Hampton Classic has taken a grass-covered field with little infrastructure and transformed it into an experience unparalleled among horse show venues. This pursuit of excellence led the United States Equestrian Federation to award the Hampton Classic the status of "Heritage Competition," making it one of only two horse shows ever to receive the honor.
Kentucky Horse Park
The Kentucky Horse Park is home to a cross-country course considered by many to be world class. Its 1,200 acres support multiple arenas with good footing, museums and equine education centers. The Rolex Arena has distinguished itself from the many horse show venues, garnering a nod from NARG for its beautiful and challenging jumps courses. In fact, the park hosts The Show Jumping Hall of Fame. Established in 1990, The Kentucky Spring Premier features exhibitions and a course with both WEG and custom-built jumps, as well as a showcase of American Saddlebred horses.
Del Mar Fairgrounds
In addition to hosting the Del Mar National, the Del Mar Fairgrounds also hosts the Del Mar Fall Festival I & II horse shows. The two-week series, held every October, offers a World Cup Qualifier as well as hosting the Pacific Coast Championships and a Grand Prix Hunter Derby. The venue continues to garner high marks from competitors for its footing, arena, jumps, and stalls.
The Ricoh Coliseum
With the introduction of fiber-based footing, The Royal
, held at The Ricoh Coliseum
, has firmly established its position as a spectacular horse sport tournament that consistently draws sellout crowds. The Royal features a unique scoreboard that shows instant replays, as well as announcers and commentators that add to the true equestrian sporting event "feel." The Ricoh Coliseum's location in downtown Toronto adds to the dynamic feel of The Royal, as well as offering attendees all the amenities that a large city can provide.