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The second phase of what is believed to be America’s oldest continuous horse show – Hunter/Jumper competition – takes place in Blowing Rock in late July. The 90th Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, held at the nearby Equestrian Preserve, will feature more than 400 horses in competition July 23-28, and July 31-Aug. 4.
Hunter competitions are decided entirely on the horse’s performance, with judges determining which horse comes closest to the ideal mount for a ride to the hounds. There are competitions “on the flat” where the horse’s movement, style and appearance are judged, along with other competitions over fences designed to resemble obstacles that might be found in the hunt field. Judging jumpers is completely objective: The rail stays up or it comes down. Jumpers with the fewest faults and fastest times win.
Although these shows attract hundreds of competitors and their families to Blowing Rock, they also make a great add-on for those visiting the town during the shows. For a listing of other events going on in and around Blowing Rock concurrently with the horse shows, visit www.blowingrock.com/calendar.p
The Horse Show is also an economic generator for the Town, according to Tracy Brown, Executive Director of the Blowing Rock TDA.
“Data shows that four people accompany each horse in the show and spend an average of $150 per day during the event.,” Brown said. “That’s a significant benefit for the town and its merchants.”
Gates at the Equestrian Preserve open each show day at 8 a.m. Admission is $5. The Preserve is located at 1500 Laurel Lane off U.S. 221, one mile from Main Street.