National horse show

National horse show

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The National Horse Show was founded in 1883 in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 by a group of affluent sportsmen. By 1887, the National Horse Show Directory, listing directors and 920 members, formed the basis for Louis Keller
Louis Keller
Louis Keller is best known as the German-American New Yorker of wide social acquaintance who assembled and published the New York Social Register, which first appeared in 1886...

's first New York Social Register. The competition was featured regularly in illustrations for Harper's Weekly
Harper's Weekly
Harper's Weekly was an American political magazine based in New York City. Published by Harper & Brothers from 1857 until 1916, it featured foreign and domestic news, fiction, essays on many subjects, and humor...

 and other magazines by artists such as Howard Chandler Christy
Howard Chandler Christy
Howard Chandler Christy was an American artist and illustrator famous for the "Christy Girl", similar to a "Gibson Girl".He was born in Morgan County and attended early school in Duncan Falls, Ohio...

 and Charles Dana Gibson
Charles Dana Gibson
Charles Dana Gibson was an American graphic artist, best known for his creation of the Gibson Girl, an iconic representation of the beautiful and independent American woman at the turn of the 20th century....


In 1909, Alfred G. Vanderbilt, then president of the National Horse Show, made the show international by inviting British Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 officers to compete. Eleonora Sears
Eleonora Sears
Eleonora Randolph Sears was an American tennis player of the interwar period.She won the women's doubles at the US Women's National Championship four times, including three consecutively...

 became the first woman to ride astride at the National Horse Show, in 1915. (Prior to that, women rode side-saddle.) That same year, the show became an American military competition, until 1925. Notable competitors included Generals John J. "Black Jack" Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

, William Billy Mitchell and George S. Patton
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from...

. In 1926, the show moved to the third Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

 located on Eighth Avenue at 50th Street. Garden III would witness 40 years of National history and the show's continuing evolution.

By 1942, the National Horse Show had reached such importance that even as America entered World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, an abbreviated show was still held. The competition moved to the present Madison Square Garden on 34th Street at Pennsylvania Station
Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
Pennsylvania Station—commonly known as Penn Station—is the major intercity train station and a major commuter rail hub in New York City. It is one of the busiest rail stations in the world, and a hub for inbound and outbound railroad traffic in New York City. The New York City Subway system also...

 in 1968. It celebrated its centennial in 1983 with a Carriage Marathon for over 100 horse-drawn vehicle
Horse-drawn vehicle
A horse-drawn vehicle is a mechanized piece of equipment pulled by one horse or by a team of horses. These vehicles typically had two or four wheels and were used to carry passengers and/or a load...

s through Central Park
Central Park
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan...

 and down Fifth Avenue to City Hall
New York City Hall
New York City Hall is located at the center of City Hall Park in the Civic Center area of Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA, between Broadway, Park Row, and Chambers Street. The building is the oldest City Hall in the United States that still houses its original governmental functions, such as...

. In 1989, it moved to New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

's Meadowlands Arena. Newer, larger facilities led to an expansion of show division offerings. Pony hunters competed again, after an absence of 27 years, and new classes like celebrity cutting, lead line, and local classes for horses stabled within 100 miles were added.

In 1996, the competition returned to its century-old home at Madison Square Garden, and the famous racehorse, Cigar
Cigar (horse)
Cigar , is a retired American Thoroughbred racehorse, who in 1995 and 1996 became the first American racehorse racing against top-class competition to win 16 consecutive races since the Triple Crown winner, Citation did so in 1948 and 1950...

, with earnings of almost $10 million, had his formal retirement ceremony there. An Equine Extravaganza was held at Rockefeller Plaza in 1997, in recognition of The National Horse Show's 114th year.

In 2002, the show moved to Wellington, Florida
Wellington, Florida
Wellington is a village in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. As of 2006, the village had a population of 55,584 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Wellington is part of the South Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

. From 2008 to 2010 the NHS was held at the Syracuse Invitational in Syracuse, New York
Syracuse, New York
Syracuse is a city in and the county seat of Onondaga County, New York, United States, the largest U.S. city with the name "Syracuse", and the fifth most populous city in the state. At the 2010 census, the city population was 145,170, and its metropolitan area had a population of 742,603...


In 2011 the show moved again: the 128th National Horse Show is held first time in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park
Kentucky Horse Park
Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm and an educational theme park opened in 1978 in Lexington, Kentucky. It is located off Kentucky State Highway 1973 and Interstate 75 in northern Fayette County in the United States...

, Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 63rd largest in the US. Known as the "Thoroughbred City" and the "Horse Capital of the World", it is located in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass region...

 - a location of the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games
2010 FEI World Equestrian Games
The 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games were held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky from September 25 to October 10, 2010. This was the sixth edition of the games, which are held every four years and run by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports...