STAMFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 31: Zara Phillips rides Ardfield Magic Star following the dressage phase of The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on August 31, 2007 in Stamford, UK (Photo by Ben Stansall/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Zara Phillips
One of the oldest equestrian competitions in the west is back for the 65th year.
The Del Mar National Horse Show consists of three weeklong events, including evening shows, from April 22 to May 9. More than 1,500 horses of every breed will be competing for ribbons, trophies, titles and prize money.
This week: dressage. Not familiar with equestrian terms? This is the equivalent to ballet. While the rider wears formal attire -- top hat included -- the horse’s mane is perfectly coiffed, and both perform extremely difficult maneuvers in a precise pattern of compulsory moves.
The judges will be looking for precision and harmony, and so should you.
On Saturday, the nighttime event iEvening of Musical Freestyles is scheduled for 7 p.m. Some of the top dressage rider-horse teams in the world will compete, showing the incredible and subtle communication that occurs between rider and horse as the team executes a variety of graceful dressage maneuvers.
Rounding out the show will be the hunter and jumper competitions from May 4 -9.
All you horse lovers should make sure to plan it right. You can watch the show free of charge on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but Saturday and Sunday events, beginning at 8 a.m., are $10 for grandstand seating. Purchase tickets by calling the box office at 858-792-4252 or purchase them at the fairgrounds' Durante Gate ticket office. Parking is $9.