The 73rd annual Del Mar National Horse Show kicks off its three-week run on April 17 with Western Week. The iconic horse show brings together many of the most accomplished, athletic and revered horse and rider teams to compete for coveted trophies.
“Night of the Horse,” presented by Mary’s Tack & Feed at 7 p.m. April 21, is the exclamation point of Western Week where spectators will be dazzled with daring feats during a truly unique musical equestrian theatrical performance.
Each week of the Del Mar National represents a distinct discipline – Western (April 17-21), Dressage (April 26-29) and Hunter/Jumper (May 1-6) – and closes with a special event highlighting that segment on Saturday evenings. Nearly 1,500 horses from various countries will compete in the three-week show for more than $300,000 in cash and prizes.
Much of the Del Mar National Horse Show is free for spectators. The featured Saturday evening events including “Night of the Horse,” require a paid admission and grandstand tickets are available for both reserved seating and gourmet dinner VIP boxes online at delmarnational.com.
ALL ABOUT WESTERN WEEK
Ranch Day, April 17: You’ll find traditional Western riding techniques such as trail skills and reining during Western Week. New this year is “Ranch Day” on April 17, featuring ranch riding and the Highpoint Horse Award. Classes for the American Quarter Horse Association, the National Snaffle Bit Association, the National Reining Horse Association and the Pacific Coast Horse Show Association are featured along with Circuit and Highpoint Awards. Traditional perpetual trophies, dating back to the 1960s, are awarded to the winners, making the Del Mar National Horse Show unique to most shows.
Luxury Ranch Interior Design Western Week Trainers’ Show and Exhibitor Party, April 19: The party, from 6-8 p.m., is open to the public, and includes a fun dog race, wine tasting featuring Saddleback Cellars of Napa, entertainment by Geneva Pina and a special dog and pony show appearance by Francesca, Dally and Spanky (description below). All are invited to swing in to visit and shop the lavish, one-of-a-kind interior design elements of Marlene Holmquist of Luxury Ranch.
Featured Event: Night of the Horse, presented by Mary’s Tack & Feed, April 21: This equestrian variety show features entertainment that will dazzle the whole family with daring feats and beauty during this unique musical equestrian theatrical performance. Globe-trotting Australian horseman Dan James headlines the show; he’s the only cowboy in the country who “Roman rides” a liberty team comprised of four horses and a pony. Dan has wowed audiences throughout North America, Australia, and Japan as he pushes the limits of horsemanship and entertainment. Night of the Horse has waited for four years to bring this spectacular horseman to Del Mar. The event also includes performances by Erik Martonovich, who will bring his Gladius the Show straight from Las Vegas; the California Cowgirls Drill Team; Bobby Kerr and his fearless American Mustangs; Kenny Lawson’s mounted shooting and more.
Dally and Spanky will make an appearance at Night of the Horse with their unique dog and pony show! Spanky, a 2-year-old miniature horse, was rescued by Francesca Carsen. While Francesca was teaching Spanky some tricks, her 6-month-old Jack Russell Terrier, Dally, jumped onto Spanky’s back. From that day, the two have been inseparable. Dally and Spanky have performed at equine expos and events in the U.S. and Canada and have even appeared on the David Letterman Show, and the cover of Children’s National Geographic for “Unusual Animal Friends.”
Preceding the Night of the Horse, visitors can explore the “Meet the Breeds Expo” presented by MD Barnmaster from 5-7 p.m. which is a fun, interactive live horse encounter in the courtyard on April 21. Whether you are a competing rider or have always dreamed about owning or riding, the Meet the Breeds Expo offers a chance to compare saddles of a different sport, view the different breeds of horses and even take selfies with your favorite one. Listen to four-time San Diego Music Award-winner Steven Ybarra perform while you sample wine, beer and spirits and shop at Vendors’ Village for unique equestrian merchandise including art, clothing, hats, books, jewelry and more.
WHAT: DEL MAR NATIONAL HORSE SHOW KICKS OFF WITH WESTERN WEEK
WHEN: April 17-21 is Western Week; the Del Mar National continues through May 6
WHERE: Del Mar Fairgrounds – Del Mar Arena, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
FEATURED EVENT: Night of the Horse, presented by Mary’s Tack & Feed, 7 p.m. April 21
COST: Most events throughout the week are free for spectators except for featured Saturday evening events including Night of the Horse. Tickets are now available for both reserved seating and gourmet dinner VIP boxes online at delmarnational.com.
FOR MORE INFO: 858-792-4288; delmarnational.com
UPCOMING DEL MAR NATIONAL HORSE SHOW WEEKS:
Dressage Week, April 26-29 featuring “The Evening of Musical Freestyles” presented by Mossy Automotive Group at 7 p.m. April 28
Hunter/Jumper Week, May 1-6 featuring the “$25,000 Surfside Grand Prix” presented by The Competitive Equestrian at 1:45 p.m. May 4 and the “$100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar” presented by Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty Equestrian Division at 6:45 p.m. May 5
About the Del Mar National Horse Show
The three-week Del Mar National, April 17-May 6, showcases three weeks of world-class, riveting equestrian competition in three distinctly different disciplines of riding – Western, Dressage and Hunter/Jumper. Now in its 73rdyear, the Del Mar National has earned international recognition as one of the most prestigious and historic events of its kind in the nation. Nearly 1,500 horse and rider teams compete to win $300,000 in cash and prizes. This is one of the few remaining horse shows offering multiple traveling perpetual trophies and individual class trophies and ribbons, which attracts internationally-acclaimed horses and riders year after year. The Del Mar National Horse Show is produced by the 22nd District Agricultural Association, a State of California agency which owns and operates the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Find more information at delmarnational.com.