As summer kicks into full swing, so does the world of equestrian sports. July, August and early September are home to some of the best events in horse sport and horse racing. And also to some of the best fashion and people-watching you’ll find in the summer months. Our correspondent Jillian Tangen has rounded up the most elite summer equestrian events in the world for 2019.
some of the most renowned events in horse sport occur in the summer months
The Triple Crown and Ascot are important and iconic spring events. But by no means does the thoroughbred racing season end with the arrival of summer. On the contrary, it’s off to the races, as many of the world’s historical tracks host iconic events during the summer months.
With each of these events comes glamorous and bubbly social gatherings, lively entertainment and of course, the need for equestrian chic outfits, including an incredible hat. Because why not look fantastic while you’re horsing around?
The Most Elite Summer Equestrian Events in the World
We’ve compiled a list of 10 glamorous summer equestrian events ranging from the light, fun and fashionable (we’re looking at you Glorious Goodwood) to the more technical and refined. There are equestrian shows, thrilling races and even a chance to adopt a horse for charity.
1. The BHS Royal International Horse Show
The BHS Royal International Horse Show is one of the oldest equestrian events in the world. It’s also one of the largest outdoor equestrian shows in Great Britain, with entertainment for every equestrian lover, irrespective of age.
The event offers the joy of watching the skill and power of international show jumpers clearing vast fences. The precision of top class show horses and ponies putting in foot-perfect performances. And the speed and exhilaration of the scurry drivers and event riders galloping around Hickstead’s famous International Arena. You will also find many stands selling equestrian clothing and tack, footwear, housewares and gifts – July 23 – 28, 2019
2. King George Day
Glamour and glory abound at King George Day. This is Ascot’s midsummer prestige event. Its showpiece race, The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, has long been regarded as Europe’s premier mid-season middle distance championship race for horses of both sexes and all ages. It’s the lead-up to the Pre de l’Arc de Triomphe in the fall.
Only slightly less formal than the Royal Meeting, King George Day is a showcase of contemporary summer wardrobes, as cocktail bars and champagne tents stretch right across the course for racegoers to indulge and enjoy – July 27, 2019
3. The Goodwood Festival
Like the other major summer meetings, “Glorious Goodwood” is noted for its fashion. For the gents, Royal Ascot’s top hats give way to the Panama hat, one of the enduring symbols of a summer’s day at Goodwood races. With five days of thrilling action set against the magnificent backdrop of the rolling Sussex countryside, this festival is one of the highlights of the flat racing season – July 30 – August 3, 2019
4. The Whitney Stakes
No race better captures Saratoga’s 19th-century spirit than the The Whitney Stakes. The event is named after the Whitney family, who have long been an institution in Saratoga’s racing history. The week of the Whitney offers a quintessential Saratoga experience, filled with great races and grand events around town to compliment them – August 3, 2019
5. The TVG Pacific Classic
The TVG Pacific Classic is always the highlight of summer racing in California at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. It’s also a great place for celeb spotting. Hollywood stars, professional athletes and other recognizable faces frequent Del Mar on a regular basis. So chances are if you spend a day at the track, you’ll spot someone on the A-list – August 17, 2019
6. The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival
Known as “the Ascot of the north,” the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival offers the same mixture of top-flight racing and eye catching fashion as its southern counterpart. Hugely popular with owners, trainers, jockeys and racegoers alike, York always attracts the best horses for a packed three-day program – August 21 – 24, 2019
7. Travers Stakes – The Mid-Summer Derby
The renowned highlight of the summer racing season at Saratoga, the Travers Stakes is often referred to as The Mid-Summer Derby. Its the third-ranked race for American horses at three years of age, behind the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. Dating back to 1864, the race was named in honor of William Travers, the president of the old Saratoga Racing Association – August 24, 2019
8. The Hampton Classic
Thousands will descend upon Southampton at the end of August for the eight-day Hampton Classic. It features 1,600 horses and top riders from the US, Ireland, South America and Europe.
In the past, Jimmy Fallon, Jennifer Lopez, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Brooke Shields and Billy Joel have attended. Along with celebrity sightings, attendees can adopt cats, dogs and even horses on Monday at the 8th annual Adoption Day – August 25 – September 1, 2019
9. The FEI World Equestrian Games
The FEI World Equestrian Games are held every four years in a different location. This is one of the sport’s biggest events, combining eight equestrian world championships. Included in this competition is Dressage, Jumping, Driving, and Eventing. Plus Para-Equestrian Dressage, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining. A total of 20 countries on four different continents have submitted expressions of interest to host the next FEI World Championships, to be held in 2022.
10. St. Leger Stakes
The world’s oldest racing classic, the St. Leger Stakes, dates back to 1776. The flagship day of the William Hill St. Leger Festival, this race attracts more than 30,000 viewers to Doncaster Racecourse.
In addition to the St Leger stakes, the Festival’s showpiece day also features other top-flight races, including the Champagne Stakes. And the fast and furious, ultra competitive sprint, the Portland Handicap. The William Hill St Leger Day is also a social occasion featuring fashion, live entertainment, music and plenty of Pimms and Champagne in the sunshine. Dress accordingly. – September 14, 2019
There you have it — all the info you need to be off to the races in chic style this summer. Saddle up and ride.
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Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier. Formerly, she was a Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in NYC and is married with three young children. She loves cross country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.