The Horse Circus: 10.17.14

The Horse CircusWe pretend to go to the horse show but everyone really knows it’s a circus!

Bring on the clowns! And the horses too!

Every Friday Counter-Canter Culture features the important US and International Horse Shows

Penn National Banner

Pennsylvania National Horse Show

The Pennsylvania National Horse Show is on again – for the 69th time to be exact. The days when the volunteers wore tuxedos may be gone, but world-class competitors are still on hand for this horse show. It’s just that now they are more likely to be asked to ride a mustang or take a turn in the 5 Drum Barrel Race than to sip champagne with the well-to-do. Let’s take a closer look inside!

Through a series of Throwback Thursday style photos on their Facebook page, the Penn National is paying tribute to the great stars of days gone by. Stars like Peggy Augustus, seen below winning the Hunter Championship at the 1967 Penn National. Augustus won not only the Penn National, but also the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden, Devon Horse Show and the Royal Winter. She was even featured in Sports Illustrated in 1957.

Today, a new set of well-known American faces is making headlines at the Penn National. McLain Ward claimed victory in the $5,000 Open Jumper Speed Challenge on Wednesday, and top-ranked American rider Kent Farrington racked up another win in Thursday’s $40,000 Pennsylvania National “Big Jump,” with Beezie Madden hot on his heels for second place.

“Big Jump” Winners Kent Farrington and Willow (c) Al Cook

Side-by-side with the serious show jumping competitions are a series of equestrian spectacles intended to delight audiences. Tuesday saw the East Coast edition of the Equine Comeback Challenge take center stage. In this event, ten rescue horses are paired with ten trainers for just 90 days of preparation before this competition. Then, they exhibit their new found skills in hopes of finding a forever home. The big winner on Tuesday night was Lil’ Red, who won the competition and clinched a new home with the Feaser family.

The Feasers present Lil’ Red to her new family the McBrides (c) Alexis Ferraro

The festivities at the Penn National come to a close on Saturday night with the $85,000 Grand Prix de Penn National, but not before the 5 Drum Barrel Racing Celebrity Challenge rages through the arena this evening. This event puts top show jumper in the western saddle seat to compete against the Canadian Cowgirls for barrel racing superiority. What a site!

Don’t miss a minute of the action from the Penn National arena. It’s streaming live now over on the USEF Network.

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