Del Mar National Horse Show April 21-May8

By February 1, 2011

William Shatner and Smoke 'N War Wind took top amateur honors in reining during 2010's Western Week. (Photo by Rick O'Steen)

The Del Mar National unspools April 21 to May 8, with horses and riders in three different disciplines showcasing their talents. April 21-24 is Western Week, April 28 to May 1 Dressage, followed by the Hunter/Jumpers May 3-8,  culminating in the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar.

It’s been called the oldest horse show in the West. Since its start in 1946, when it was part of the San Diego County Fair, the Del Mar National has attracted some of the nation’s leading riders in all those different disciplines. Now in its 66th year, the show takes place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and is expected to attract more than 1,500 horses of every breed competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.

Week one is Western Week, which runs April 21–24. On April 23 the special “Night of the Horse” will feature entertainers such as

Jan Ebeling and Rafalca compete last year.

Jan Ebeling and Rafalca compete at Dressage Week ast year. (Photo by Kelly Sanchez)

Tommie Turvey, who has appeared with his horses in films like Jonah Hex and Batman: Dark Knight. Matt McLaughlin, former head trainer and performer for the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions, will bring his beautiful Andalusians for three stunning acts. Southern California’s Ramon Becerra and his young daughter, Katherine, who delighted crowds at last fall’s World Equestrian Games, will show off their equestrian skills, and the Rainbow Riders, from Ramona, will thrill audiences with high speed and precision drill maneuvers. After the show, there’ll be a chance to meet the performers and get autographs and photos.

Dressage Week, scheduled for April 28 through May 1, is a qualifying competition for the USEF Dressage Championships, the Pan American Games and the FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships. Fresh from his win at the World Dressage Masters in Florida, Steffen Peters (riding Akiko Yamazaki’s Ravel) is expected to perform in the “Evening of Musical Freestyles” on April 30, as is fellow Olympian Guenter Seidel, riding Richard and Jane Brown’s U II.

Rich Fellers and Flexible win the 2010 Grand Prix of Del Mar. (Photo by Paula Parisi)

Running May 3 through May 8, Hunter Jumper Week features the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar. Expected to compete are Rich Fellers and Flexible, who won last year’s event as well as the $25,000 SurfsideGrand Prix of Del Mar, along with Olympic champion Will Simpson, and his wife, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson, a six-time World Cup competitor. On May 6, the “Battle of the Sexes” promises to entertain, as the women’s team vies for $15,000 in prize money against the men’s team. That same night, exhibitors will compete in a high jump contest—the final horse and rider to successfully clear the ever-increasing height take the prize.



All daytime events are free. Grandstand tickets are $18 for the Saturday evening events. For more information, call 858-792-4252, or visit

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