Over the next two weeks, Earl Warren Showgrounds will host some of the country’s most decorated horses and owners for the 93rd annual Santa Barbara National Horse Show.
The show, the oldest in the western United States, is divided into two segments — the multibreed competition will be held through Saturday this week, while the hunter-jumper show will take place Wednesday, July 11, through Sunday July 15.
Harriet Landrum, secretary of the Santa Barbara National Horse Show staff, said this is one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the country.
“We have world champions showing here, and world-class riders that have competed and won national and international awards,” she said.
The show will feature horses of six breeds, including Saddlebred, Friesian, Welsh, Paso Fino, Hackney and Standardbred. The hunter-jumper show focuses on horses specifically bred for hunting and jumping events.
According to Landrum, each horse is judged against a certain standard for its breed, based on appearance and performance. While this standard is partially based on the appearance of the horse, how well the horse can perform also plays a substantial role in the judging process.
“The horses cannot only stand there and look pretty — they must also perform, and the ones that perform best will win,” Landrum said.
Prizes are given out for various categories of horse and different skill levels of rider, and include ribbons, trophies, and garlands, as well as monetary prizes.
Landrum said many horses competing in the show will go on to participate in the world championship horse show in Kentucky and other international shows.
Admission is free to the show, which will kick off at 11 a.m. on the Fourth of July.