WASHINGTON INTERNATIONAL HORSE SHOW
RETURNS TO D.C. AREA AFTER TWO-YEAR HIATUS
The 64th Annual Equine Extravaganza Will Be Held
From Oct. 24-30
At The Show Place Arena,
Prince George’s Premier Equestrian Center
UPPER MARLBORO, MD (Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022) – Prince George’s County, the Town of Upper Marlboro, and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County are excited to host the 64th annual Washington International House Show (WIHS) beginning next week at The Show Place Arena, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and Mayor Sarah Franklin said this morning during a kickoff news conference at the event venue.
Alsobrooks and Franklin were joined this morning by Experience Prince George’s President and CEO Leslie W. Graves; WIHS Executive Director Mary Helen Shaughnessy; Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning (M-NCPPC) Deputy Director for Parks and Facilities Management Steven Carter; and Maryland Horse Industry Board Executive Director Ross Peddicord.
The WIHS returns to the Washington, DC area this year following a two-year hiatus when it was held outdoors at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) in North Carolina due to coronavirus concerns. This year’s show in Upper Marlboro will be held Oct. 24-30 and will include seven days and three nights of thrilling five-star international jumping, top hunters, entertaining exhibitions, and special events for the whole family.
“We are Prince George’s Proud to be able to host the prestigious Washington International Horse Show in Prince George’s County, the Crown Jewel of Maryland,” Alsobrooks said. “Some of the most talented equestrian riders from across the country and world will be gathered here, which will have a significant economic impact on our County and State. We look forward to an amazing competition and being able to showcase all that Prince George’s County has to offer.”
Hosting the WIHS in Upper Marlboro is particularly noteworthy, Mayor Franklin said, because of the town’s historical connection to horses and equestrian events. The region around Upper Marlboro is home to a horse-riding facility and even hosts a residential community that offers horse stabling.
“We are excited to welcome the Washington International Horse Show back to the Metro DC region,” Mayor Franklin said. “The Town is especially honored to be hosting this event in Upper Marlboro. The Show Place Arena is expanding and continuing its tradition of hosting nationally acclaimed equestrian events such as the WIHS. Welcoming this prestigious show is another step toward achieving our goal of becoming a regional tourist destination.”
Experience Prince George’s, the official destination marketing organization for Prince George’s County, shared the mayor’s enthusiasm about this year’s event being held at The Show Place Arena.
“The Show Place Arena is an ideal setting for this illustrious event, and as our sports industry continues to flourish, we look forward to welcoming the equine community and all attendees to experience a sport of this distinction,” said Leslie W. Graves, President and CEO of Experience Prince George’s.
Carter echoed Graves’ comments about the Show Place Arena, which M-NCPPC operates.
“M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation, Prince George’s County is committed to providing a world-class experience at all our facilities, and The Show Place Arena is a great example,” said Steven Carter, Deputy Director of Parks and Facilities Management for M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County. “We take pride in our agency’s diverse programs, facilities, and services that all contribute to the County’s dynamic offerings for residents and visitors to the region. We’re excited to welcome the Washington International Horse Show to Prince George’s County, and we look forward to continuing our support for events like this in the future.”
Daytime events will be held throughout the week (Monday, Oct. 24 through Sunday, Oct. 30) and will include “hunters,” where horses are judged on accuracy, grace, and elegance as they jump a course of natural-style obstacles similar to what might be found in foxhunting. The daytime events will also feature junior and amateur jumpers, where young riders will compete over decorated courses where speed and accuracy determine the winner.
Evening events will take place next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Oct. 27-29. These evening events will include international show jumping, entertaining exhibitions, and the WIHS equitation final.
“We are very excited that the 64th annual Washington International Horse Show will take place at The Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland,” stated Mary Helen Shaughnessy, Executive Director, WIHS. “Our return to the D.C. area will be particularly exceptional and we’re extremely grateful for the positive reception and hard work put forth by Maryland state and Prince George’s County officials and teams that are dedicated to making this event the best yet. The show’s new FEI five-star designation means this year’s event will attract more of the world’s top riders, from 10 different countries, including Olympic medalists McLain Ward, Jessica Springsteen, Laura Kraut, Kent Farrington, and Rodrigo Pessoa, as well as last year's Grand Prix winner Tiffany Foster of Canada.
“The new partnership with National Harbor enables us to offer exhibitors, spectators, and sponsors special access to top lodging, entertainment, and community events, including the popular WIHS Kids’ Day,” Shaughnessy added. “WIHS has long been known for its world-class jumping and its ability to bring horses to people in the surrounding areas so we’re looking forward to a successful and engaging event that will be beneficial for equestrian sport and our local communities alike.”
Additional WIHS highlights taking place during the week will include Barn Night on Thursday, Oct. 27; Military Night presented by Boeing on Friday, Oct. 28; an inaugural ETHOS Award Ceremony (to recognize contributions by African Americans to the horse world) and World Cup Night on Saturday, Oct. 29; and Kids’ Day activities on Saturday, Oct. 22 at the National Harbor Carousel lot and Saturday, Oct. 29 at The Show Place Arena Equestrian Center.
Details about all of the week’s events can be found at the WIHS website.
About Washington International Horse Show
Established in 1958, the Washington International Horse Show is one of North America's most prestigious, competitive, and entertaining equestrian events with competition for international, professional, amateur, junior, and child riders. Highlights include the $406,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Washington for the President's Cup presented by Experience Prince George's, and the WIHS Equitation Finals and Children's and Adult Hunter and Jumper Championships, plus popular community and charity events, including Kids' Day and Barn Night. WIHS, an official USEF Heritage Competition, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. For more information, visit wihs.org.
Horse History In Upper Marlboro:
Marlboro Race Course, was a five eights mile track that opened in 1914 located in Upper Marlboro. During it's run it would hold a three week agricultural meet. It had an open air grandstand and clubhouse that could seat 1,260 fans, 2,600 in the grandstand and 1,000 in the clubhouse. The stable could accommodate 475 horses.
Upper Marlboro was once part of the Maryland Fair Circuit it had a purse value of 6 which wasn't bad at the time for a fair meet. It was swallowed up by Bowie Race Course in 1973, during the period when the pressure was being applied to transfer fair dates to larger tracks
The track was converted to an equestrian center, and in the fall of 1980 the grandstand burned to the ground. In 1988 Marlboro made comeback of sorts.
Starting in October of 1988 and running till 1993 racing was conducted for two days a year on the Marlboro oval with pari-mutual wagering. The races were well attended mostly because of the nostalgia they provided, but were suddenly canceled after 1993. More fans turned out that first day in 1988 then ever in the history of the Marlboro Race Track.