Washington, USA – December 09, 2021 – The board of directors of the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) presented by MARS EquestrianTM is pleased to announce the storied and prestigious equestrian event has officially applied to the USEF and FEI for a change of venue to return home to the greater Washington, D.C. area and to upgrade the show to the FEI 5* level, continuing as a member of the Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM North American League in 2022.
This announcement follows two highly unusual but successful years when the show was temporarily relocated outdoors to the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in Mill Spring, N.C., as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The WIHS team expresses sincere appreciation to the WIHS sponsors and exhibitors as well as the TIEC team who were flexible and supportive of WIHS during this time of transition.
Exciting New Chapter Honoring WIHS History and Traditions
Pending FEI and USEF final approval, the 64th edition of the historic competition will be held October 25-30 at The Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Md. The Show Place Arena will be transformed with the support of Prince George’s County, The Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission, and the State of Maryland to provide the outstanding exhibitor and unique spectator experience WIHS has always provided, including world-class footing, hospitality, entertainment, food, and shopping. WIHS will partner with the popular National Harbor waterfront complex in nearby Oxon Hill, Md., to create a WIHS Hotel and Hospitality Campus offering exhibitors, spectators, and sponsors special access to top lodging, entertainment, and community events, including the popular WIHS Kids’ Day.
“We embarked on an extensive, multi-year search for a new venue when we learned our special downtown home for nearly 20 years, Capital One Arena, would no longer be able to accommodate the show,” said WIHS President Victoria Lowell. “We looked at every possible scenario in the D.C. area inside and outside of the city. We’re committed to creating a special, one-of-a-kind, exhibitor- and horse-friendly indoor experience at The Show Place Arena that honors the history and tradition of WIHS with significantly increased prize money and a major commitment to delivering a world-class venue inside and out.
“The Washington, D.C. area is our heritage and our home,” continued Lowell. “We have moved several times in the past from our original home in D.C. at The Armory, to Landover, Md., to the Capital One Arena downtown. We believe Prince George’s Equestrian Center is the right destination for us at this time.”
Lowell added, “The enthusiastic and generous support of the Maryland Horse Industry Board and Angela D. Alsobrooks, Prince George’s County Executive, provides a wonderful foundation to build on for the future. Anticipated public investment in the facility coupled with community outreach and engagement will ensure the special elements of WIHS thrive in our new location.”
Continuing as a member of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League, WIHS will offer not only increased prize money and ranking points throughout the international division, but the 2022 edition of WIHS will also see the return of the popular Exhibitors’ Lounge and VIP Dining Platform, in addition to new hospitality opportunities and special events at National Harbor.
Strong Support From Local Government
The return of WIHS to the D.C. metro area signaled the commitment of Prince George’s County and Maryland state officials as well as The Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission to announce a significant investment toward improving The Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center to accommodate the world-class horses and riders the show attracts. Among the expected upgrades are improved footing, updated and matted stabling, a covered schooling area, and overall enhancements to improve the fan experience.
“WIHS has a long and revered history in the Washington, D.C., area, and we’re pleased it’s found a home with us in Maryland,” said Ross Peddicord, Executive Director of the Maryland Horse Industry Board. “Maryland’s successful investment and staging of the inaugural Maryland 5 Star eventing competition at Fair Hill, which drew more than 20,000 fans, is a prime example of local officials’ dedication to horse sport.
“In that endeavor, we worked with county government and various state agencies and private donors to secure significant funding for infrastructure improvements and event operations,” continued Peddicord. “It is part of the Maryland Horse Park System plan, as outlined by the Maryland Stadium Authority. That’s the game plan we are following here. We are extremely gratified that Prince George’s County government has already stepped up to get the ball rolling and to bring this world-class competition to their county. It will have an enormous economic and cultural impact.”
Maryland Horse Month
WIHS will become a major attraction during the month of October as Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has designated October “Maryland Horse Month.” WIHS will be a highlight along with the Maryland 5 Star eventing competition taking place October 13-16, 2022, at the Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Elkton, Md., and the Maryland Million horse race in Laurel, Md. WIHS will also bring back its popular Kids’ Day and continue to evolve its mission of educating and entertaining the community through equestrian sport within Prince George’s County and the greater Washington, D.C. area.
“For more than 60 years, WIHS has been known for its unique ability to bring the joy of horses and jumping to spectators and fans in the D.C. region who otherwise may not have a chance to experience these wonderful animals,” said Lowell. “The partnership with Maryland and National Harbor coupled with exciting competition at the nearby Show Place Arena indoor complex will provide the best of both worlds for athletes, horses, and spectators alike.”
“We are Prince George’s Proud to welcome the Washington International Horse Show to Prince George’s County, the Crown Jewel of Maryland,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “We want to thank the WIHS Board of Directors for allowing our County and the State of Maryland the opportunity to host this world-class event right here at our very own Show Place Arena. Prince George’s County has so many attractions, amenities, and entertainment options, so we are excited to welcome visitors from across the globe to experience all that our County has to offer.”
Join Us for the WIHS 2022 Experience
Everyone at WIHS is excited about this new chapter in the history of the show and hopes that riders, trainers, owners, and equestrian fans will come experience WIHS at The Show Place Arena and at National Harbor in October 2022. Additional details will be announced in the coming months.
About Maryland Horse Industry Board
The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) is a program in the Maryland Department of Agriculture that serves as a commodities board promoting all aspects of the state’s $2.1 billion equine industry. MHIB develops projects to help spur economic development and particularly to initiate marketing efforts to help grow the recreational riding sector. The board also licenses and inspects nearly 800 commercial boarding, lesson, rental, and rescue stables. For more information, visit mda.maryland.gov/horseboard.
About Washington International Horse Show
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of North America’s most prestigious and entertaining equestrian events with competition for professionals, amateurs, juniors, and children. Highlights include the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington for the President’s Cup and the WIHS Equitation Finals plus community and charity events. WIHS, an official USEF Heritage Competition, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. For more information, visit wihs.org.
Source: Press Release by Kara Pinato Scro / Jump Media for Washington International Horse Show
Photos: © Impact Media / National Harbor