Trip Guide: The Washington International Horse Show
Dappled Grey is proud to feature this post from guest contributor Lauren Fisher, who works for Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) returns to the great city of Washington, D.C. this October for its 54th annual competition. Held at the Verizon Center right in our nation’s capital, the six-day equestrian competition features world-class horses and riders, fun exhibitions and family-friendly activities, and great shopping and dining. And when you are not at the show, there is no shortage of culture and fun activities to experience in the city.
The 2012 Washington International Horse Show will run October 23-28, 2012, hosting more than 500 horses competing in show jumping, hunter, and equitation events. One of the nation’s only remaining metropolitan indoor horse shows, WIHS is the pinnacle of the horse show year, featuring Olympians, national champions, many talented young equitation riders, and top ranking junior, amateur and pony competitors.
Competition highlights will include the $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix presented by DC Events (a World Cup qualifier) on the evening of Saturday, October 27. The $25,000 Puissance presented by The Boeing Company (high-jump competition) will be featured on Friday evening, October 26. The WIHS Equitation Classic Finals featuring the country’s top junior riders will also be a feature event on Saturday evening. Throughout the week, exciting equestrian exhibitions, boutique shopping and community activities such as Kids’ Day and Breakfast with the Mounted Police round out this great event. Kids’ Day is a free, family event scheduled for Saturday, October 27 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Barn Night presented by Dover Saddlery is another great event for horse lovers from the local community to check out the competition on Thursday, October 25, with fun contests and prizes.
In addition to the exciting equestrian competition and activities at Verizon Center all week, guests of the WIHS will have plenty to do. While touring around the bustling city, guests should definitely visit a few of the horse show’s cultural partners, such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Kennedy Center, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. All three are featuring horse themed exhibits and shows during the WIHS, providing a fun and educational experience.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art is featuring the work of Charlotte Dumas, who travels the world making evocative formal portraits of animals. Anima, her first one-person museum exhibition in the United States, features a newly commissioned series of portraits centered on the majestic burial horses of Arlington National Cemetery. These Army horses, which belong to the Old Guard—the 3rd Infantry Regiment—carry soldiers to their final resting place in traditional military funerals. Between 2010 and 2012, Dumas photographed them in their stables and at work.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will be featuring War Horse on October 23-November 11, 2012. Winner of 5 Tony Awards including Best Play, War Horse is a remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship. This powerfully moving and imaginative drama, filled with stirring music and songs, is a show of phenomenal inventiveness. At its heart are astonishing life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, that bring to life breathing, galloping, charging horses strong enough for men to ride.
Learn about how horses transformed the lives of American Indians at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The museum is home to one of the largest and most diverse collections of Native art and historical and cultural objects. Exhibitions include ‘A Song for the Horse Nation’, which highlights horses in Native American cultures and will be featured October 29, 2011–January 7, 2013.
After touring the exhibits, the food in downtown Washington D.C. is fabulous, and there are lots of different places to choose from. One horse show favorite is Carmine’s in Penn Quarter, the neighborhood around Verizon Center. Carmine’s is a family style, value-driven restaurant concept. Restaurateur Artie Cutler created Carmine’s with one goal in mind: to open a restaurant that would serve every meal in the style of an Italian American wedding feast, featuring extra large portions of home-style antipasto, pastas, seafood and meat entrees served on extra large platters designed for sharing.
Another great restaurant to visit is Oyamel. Under the direction of famed chef José Andrés, Oyamel offers an impressive assortment of antojitos, Mexican small plates, as well as ceviches, tacos, plus unique margaritas and an impressive array of wines and tequilas in a festive, casual atmosphere. Moved to Penn Quarter in 2007, Oyamel has become a D.C. institution in the Penn Quarter.
José Andrés and his ThinkFoodGroup also offer Zaytinya, which has an innovative mezze menu inspired by Turkish, Greek and Lebanese cuisines served up in a sleek and modern setting. Building on Jose’s deep knowledge of Mediterranean cooking and years of research and travel, the menu features shared small plates of authentic and innovative fare, creative cocktails, and unique Mediterranean wines, making Zaytinya one of the most exciting restaurants in Washington. Since opening in 2003 in Penn Quarter, Zaytinya ranks consistently as a top D.C. dining destination.
After a busy and fun-filled day, Hotel Monaco is the place to stay. Monaco Washington DC, housed in the original General Post Office Building, is a National Historic Landmark that reflects the grandeur of our nation’s capital. Occupying an entire block in the heart of the vibrant downtown arts and theater district, the 183-room boutique hotel delivers a captivating blend of American history and modern American style. It is steps from restaurants, nightlife, museums and theatres, and also home to the lively Poste Moderne Brasserie, known for its chic interior, lively bar scene and traditional brasserie-style cuisine by Executive Chef Dennis Marron.
There are endless things to do in the city. The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. There are many historic monuments to visit -The White House, Capitol Hill, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. Guests can also visit the Caisson Platoon military horses – they are an Active Duty Unit within the United States Army with stables located at Fort Myer and Fort Belvoir. Other animal lovers can visit The National Zoo, which is a 163-acre zoological park set amid Rock Creek Park in the heart of Washington, D.C.
The Washington International Horse Show and the beautiful city of Washington D.C. have something to offer everyone. The culture, the history, the educational experiences and the excitement of the one-of-a-kind equestrian competition are all fantastic reasons to visit this great city!
Lauren Fisher writes for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc., a comprehensive public relations and marketing firm for the equestrian industry.
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