Wellington, Florida-- When the announcement was made that the prestigious National Horse Show was moving from its home in Madison Square Garden many enthusiasts wondered whether the magic of the old event could be replicated in the new locale of Florida. It appears that the doubters should not have worried. More than 50,000 spectators witnessed some of the best riding in the country from November 26- December 1. Among the attractions was "The Romance of the Carousel," a quadrille of eight Friesians and their riders that gave four performances to music for the enthusiastic fans.
"When it was announced that the National Horse Show was moving from Madison Square Garden to Wellington, I was ecstatic!" said Shaana Pritchard, who approached Gene Mische, President of Stadium Jumping Inc., about providing entertainment for the 119th National Horse Show. "I remember the excitement I had felt as a young girl each and every time we would go to New York City and be part of the festivities surrounding the horse show. I always dreamed of one day riding at the Garden. That dream came true-- albeit many years later, and in, of all places, Wellington, Florida."
Ms. Pritchard is a member of the United States Dressage Federation Freestyle Committee and owner of Frieze Frame Friesians. In just a few short weeks Ms. Pritchard put together a group of eight riders and eight horses from several states, designed the performances, and worked with Equisong.com to provide a moving musical score for the powerful black horses. "The troupe had never before performed together," Ms. Pritchard said. "But I had great confidence in my riders." Her confidence was justified. The performances were met by cheering crowds that came to their feet as the bejeweled horses performed difficult maneuvers in unison including the 360-degree pinwheel.
Ms. Pritchard was able to enlist the help of several sponsors that made the event possible, including Tropical Rider who provided the full seat deerskin breeches for the riders to wear during the performances. "When we rode before 13,500 cheering spectators on Friday night the noise was like a college football game," Ms. Pritchard said. "Thank goodness we had on the Tropical Rider full seat breeches because we all stuck to the saddles like glue!" Tropical Rider also sponsored the USDF Freestyle Symposium in November and was pleased to again be involved in such a successful event. "We were very excited to be associated with the Friesian Carousel at the National Horse Show," said Tropical Rider CEO Sheree Ganske. "We are big fans of the freestyle and also wanted to support our sport as this important show comes to a new venue." The Tropical Rider line is made in the USA of quality European fabrics and washable deerskin and comes in a variety of styles and colors suitable for the hunter, jumper, and dressage rings. For more information on Tropical Rider visit their website at www.tropicalrider.com
Ms. Pritchard and her follow Friesian fans hope to be back at the show next year. She said, "I'm glad I was able to do my part to show those skeptics that Wellington can be the new 'Garden of Eden."
Images courtesy: Deborah Darwin