The organizing committee of the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament released a statement on January 12 that the show has been canceled for 2011. The organizers cited the departure of the National Horse Show and ASPCA Maclay Finals from the show as the reason.
“We don’t, at present, see any way to proceed for 2011,” said the Syracuse organizers, John Madden, Frank Madden, Peter Howard, Eric Hasbrouck and Paul Mahalick. “There are only so many sponsors, riders and horses, table sales, etc. for a top class show.
“We have tried to do things at Syracuse a little differently. We have tried to live up to the admonition of George Morris (who, parenthetically, has been sensationally supportive of Syracuse) to aim for excellence in every aspect of the show from the footing, prize money, scheduling, schooling facility, etc. within the limits of an indoor one-ring show. It may be inevitable that the industry is inexorably heading to spending weeks (and months) at multi-ring factories so that there will ultimately be only four or five show facilities to survive. That may be what people want. It is not a show that we started out to run or have any interest in organizing.
“With what the NHS is now doing to put us back in the economically unsustainable split situation in the absence of an overall sponsor, we would have to dumb down our standards beyond what is acceptable to even try to run a show in 2011. That is simply not on the cards.”
Mason Phelps, president of the National Horse Show, confirmed that the NHS will take place at the Kentucky Horse Park on Nov. 2-6. He stated that the NHS board and executive director, Carolyn Vincent, have been scouting new locations for the show since the summer. The board of directors—composed of Mrs. Thomas N. Armstrong, III, William J. Berman, Samuel A.B. Boone, Leo G. Conroy, Debi Dobbs, Susan Humes, Louis M. Jacobs, Suzanne Thoben Marquard, Ernest M. Oare, Mason Phelps, Jr., Allan E. Shore, Jr., John Y.G. Walker, III, Bill Weeks and Peter Welles—met on Jan. 4 and voted unanimously to move the NHS to the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“There was pause about moving the ASPCA Maclay Finals from New York state, but I think with the ASPCA opening up an exhibit at the KHP and it being the home of the U.S. Equestrian Federation, and its geographical location, it was desirable,” said Phelps.
“We listened to the industry, to the concern and advice from equitation and hunter trainers. There are some who are not thrilled with this decision, but you’re not going to make everyone happy,” he continued.
Phelps pointed out that many exhibitors felt that Syracuse’s location in upstate New York was undesirable since the didn’t want to travel north after the Washington International in Washington D.C. the week before, then go south. “Also, the offsite stabling at the fairgrounds for the equitation horses was a deterrent, and at Kentucky, we won’t have that problem,” he said.