Penn National Horse Show Set for October 9-18

The $75,000 Budweiser Grand Prix de Penn National and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride highlight the 2008 Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
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The $75,000 Budweiser Grand Prix de Penn National and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride highlight the 2008 Pennsylvania National Horse Show.

September 5, 2008 -- The majestic Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride will join with more than 1,200 of the top horses in North America to make the 63rd annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show an extravaganza of equestrian competition and entertainment. The show is held October 9-18, 2008 at the State Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, Harrisburg, Pa.

The show is one of only four U.S. venues for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride in 2008. The Musical Ride, which will appear October 15-17 between 8 and 9 p.m. and October 18 as the final event, is a thrilling exhibition of precision horsemanship, as 32 perfectly matched horses and riders execute a variety of intricate figures and cavalry drill choreographed to music. Outfitted in scarlet uniforms and ceremonial tack, a Canadian maple leaf brushed into the croup of each horse, the horses and riders perform with military precision in formation at the trot and canter.

The Pennsylvania National Horse Show is one of the nation's premier equestrian competitions. The show awards 11 national championships and more than $350,000 in prize money. Tens of thousands of horse enthusiasts throughout the region and across the U.S. attend the will enjoy the competition, family activities and shopping.

The show's signature event is the $75,000 Budweiser Grand Prix de Penn National, held October 18 at 8 p.m., in which Olympic and World Cup show jumping veterans compete over challenging course of obstacles up to five feet high and six feet wide. These same elite riders bring a variety of horses, and each evening session Tuesday through Friday, October 14-17, opens with a thrilling Open Jumper class.

The Pennsylvania National begins with four days of competition for junior riders under age 18. Among the 11 national championships decided at the show is the Adequan/US. Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Junior Jumper Championships. Three legs of competition for teams from across the U.S. and Canada and their individual members take place Thursday through Saturday evenings, October 9-11.

On Sunday, October 12, nearly 300 young equestrians ride for hunter equitation's pinnacle, the prestigious Pessoa/USEF National Hunter Seat Medal Final. Thirty percent of past winners have gone on to represent the U.S. in international competition.

Young riders also compete in the National Horse Show "Good Hands" Saddle Seat Equitation Championship, held Thursday and Saturday afternoons, October 16 and 18. In addition, the show will host the American Saddlebred Horse Association Northeastern Regional Championships, and the North American League championships for adult and children's hunters and jumpers, open jumper speed horses and pony jumpers.

Families can treat children to free pony rides and other activities on October 11 October 17, when one child 12 and under is admitted free with a paying adult. October 15 to 18, families can visit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and horses in their stabling area anytime between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Before and after their evening appearances, when the entire troop is present, kids can interact with each rider and collect baseball-style cards featuring officers and their mounts.

Since its inception in 1945, the Pennsylvania National has raised $1.5 million for youth literacy, educational, therapeutic and recreational programs through the Harrisburg Kiwanis Youth Foundation and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation. Practical Horseman magazine is a sponsor of the show.

A complete schedule and ticket information are online at www.panational.org.