Del Mar National Horse Show’s Dressage Week is a world-renowned competition, attracting horses and riders from around the globe to compete for World Cup and Pan American qualifying scores and in international FEI classes.
Dressage Week, which runs April 25-28 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, is among the most prestigious and exciting shows of its kind in the country, featuring many Olympic, international and national champions. The renowned “Evening of Musical Freestyles,” an event known as “ballet on horseback” is the highlight of the week, happening at 7 p.m. April 27.
The 74th annual Del Mar National Horse Show kicked off its three-week run on April 16 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. Nearly 1,500 horses from various countries are competing 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 “Evening of Musical Freestyles,” require a paid admission, and tickets are available for both reserved seating and gourmet dinner VIP boxes online at delmarnational.com.
The Del Mar National Horse Show wraps up April 30-May 5 with Hunter/Jumper Week and closes with a special event highlighting that segment on Saturday evening.
All About Dressage Week
What is Dressage? It is the most disciplined of equestrian sports. Its appeal lies in a combination of athletic strength and elegant grace, and the highly-developed and mostly unseen communication between horse and rider. The word dressage is derived from the French “dresser” meaning “to train.” It has come to denote a competitive sport and a system of training.
Revered competition: Dressage Week is both a national and international competition, offering official qualifying events for many USEF finals, including the National Grand Prix and Intermediaire, Young Adult, Young and Developing Horse Championships and the National Junior/Young Rider Championships. Designated a 2019 World Cup Qualifying event, the Del Mar National is one of the most highly-regarded dressage competitions in the country and attracts the world’s finest horses and riders. Many riders rank the Del Mar National at the top of their list of favorite venues to compete at, which is what brings them back year after year.
Featured event: “The Evening of Musical Freestyles” at 7 p.m. April 27, is Dressage Week’s highlight event. With a format similar to figure skating or gymnastic floor exercises, musical freestyles are intricately planned competitions set to music. Specific movements must be demonstrated, but sequence and the inclusion of elements with added degrees of difficulty is left up to the riders and coaches. Music is chosen to highlight the personality of the individual pairs.
Guests are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy live music by Elliot Lawrence, dine at a variety of food concessionaires and shop among vendors selling unique equestrian merchandise including art, clothing, books, jewelry and more. Explore the Meet the Breeds Expo, a fun interactive exhibit open from 5-7 p.m. Whether you grew up in the equestrian arena or have simply dreamed about owning or riding a horse, the Meet the Breeds Expo offers a fun chance to sit in different types of saddles and get an up-close and personal view of different breeds of horses.
WHAT: DEL MAR NATIONAL HORSE SHOW: DRESSAGE WEEK
WHEN: April 25-28 is Dressage Week; the Del Mar National continues through May 5
WHERE: Del Mar Fairgrounds – Del Mar Arena, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
FEATURED EVENT: “Evening of Musical Freestyles” at 7 p.m. April 27
COST: Most events throughout the week are free for spectators except for featured Saturday evening events including “Evening of Musical Freestyles.” Tickets are now available for both reserved seating and gourmet dinner VIP boxes online at delmarnational.com.
NEXT UP: Hunter/Jumper Week, April 30-May 5 featuring the $35,700 Surfside Grand Prix at 1 p.m. May 2 and the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar at 6:45 p.m. May 4, presented by EQ International Real Estate featuring the Land Rover San Diego Ride and Drive.
FOR MORE INFO: (858) 792-4288; delmarnational.com
UPCOMING DEL MAR NATIONAL HORSE SHOW WEEK:
Hunter/Jumper Week, April 30 – May 5 featuring the $35,700 Surfside Grand Prix and the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar presented by EQ International Real Estate featuring the Land Rover Ride and Drive at 6:45 p.m. May 4.
About the Del Mar National Horse Show
The three-week Del Mar National, happening April 16-May 5, showcases equestrian events that includes the distinct disciplines of Western, Dressage and Hunter/Jumper in world-class competitions. Now in its 74th year, 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.