The 35th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show returns to Bridgehampton, NY, August 29-September 5. The Hampton Classic is one of the most prestigious horse shows in the nation and features competitors at every level from young children in leadline to Olympic veterans in the Classic's feature event, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and World Cup Qualifier on Sunday September 5.
"This year's Hampton Classic has a lot of exciting events planned for Opening Day on Sunday, August 29," said Shanette Barth Cohen, Executive Director of the Hampton Classic. "We are thrilled to present the return of the popular $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge as well as welcome the Dog Whisperer himself, Cesar Millan! We hope everybody will join us on opening day!"
At this year's opening ceremony, the National Anthem and "God Bless America" will be performed by international recording artist Cristina Fontanelli. Fontanelli is well known for her many appearances on television, radio, and in concerts and operas. She has performed in major concert halls throughout the U.S. and the world.
Opening Day at the Hampton Classic will feature hundreds of riders from the Long Island area in the popular leadline event, where approximately 100 competitors as young as two years old will compete in the horse show's Grand Prix ring before the opening ceremony at noon.
Headlining Opening Day is the $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge, a competition that debuted at the Classic in 2003, beginning at 1:00 p.m. More than thirty top show jumping riders and horses are expected to compete in this popular speed jumping class. Last year, Hillary Dobbs won the class on Marengo for the second year in a row.
Animal lovers won't want to miss Cesar Millan, who will be at the show to sign autographs and take photos on Opening Day from 10:00 am-12:00 pm near the stage in the Kids' Area. Dr. Emily Weiss, the ASPCA's Animal Behaviorist, will also be on hand at the ASPCA Patio to answer questions about animal behavior from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. Visitors can also participate in "Ask the Horse Vet" with Dr. Pamela Corey, of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement and Director of Equine Medicine, at the ASPCA Patio, also from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. Between 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm the ASPCA will also present a Parade of Adoptable Horses, featuring horses from a local rescue group.
Natural Horsemanship trainer Sonny Garguilo will be the highlight of the opening day ceremonies and exhibitions, which begin in the Grand Prix ring at 12:00 noon. Garguilo, of Elmont, NY, has been practicing natural horsemanship for many years, and is a popular instructor and clinician throughout New York and the east coast. His gentle and non-aggressive training methods concentrate on the harmony of horse and rider.
Photo: Kristen Johnston, Aida Turturo, Brianne Goutal and Jill Rappaport with officer Annemarie Lucas all proudly showcased their dogs during the Opening Ceremonies Celebrity Dog ASPCA Agility competition at the 2009 Hampton Classic Horse Show. © Victor Cangro