World’s Best Bring A-Game to the Hampton Classic

Hampton Classic Opening Day 2015
Hampton Classic Opening Day 2015. Photo credit: Barbara Lassen

The 40th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show wraps up this weekend with two of the event’s most highly anticipated days—Optimum Kids Day on Saturday, August 29; and Grand Prix Sunday on August 30.

Optimum Kids Day features myriad unique, fun and educational offerings in the Classic’s Kids Area. Free pony rides give the little ones the experience of riding at the Hampton Classic. The Bellini Family Circus and Magic Tricks with The Amazing Zola will astound kids from 3 to 103, while Birds of Prey from the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons will hold kids’ attention as they take flight. There will be face painting and airbrush tattoos. Children can also craft with members of the Ross School and Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research, and there will be plenty of music. Always a highlight of Optimum Kids Day at the Hampton Classic is the Long Island Livestock Co., which will be there with llamas, alpaca, sheep, goats and Pansy and Pigety the pigs.

“Optimum Kids Day is always a special part of the Hampton Classic Horse Show,” said Shanette Barth-Cohen, Hampton Classic Executive Director. “We pride ourselves on being a fun family event that offers something for everyone, and this year
is no different.”

Throughout the Classic, show jumping’s best and brightest stars, including Olympic and Pan American Games medalists, will be on hand to compete for top honors in three FEI Grand Prix events, culminating with the Classic’s featured event, the $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI4* Presented by LONGINES on Sunday, August 30.

Qualification for Sunday’s event takes place on Friday with the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier CSI4* Presented by LONGINES. The $40,000 LONGINES Cup on Saturday rounds out FEI competition at the Classic. These three competitions, and the other open jumper classes that take place throughout the week, award points toward the $30,000 LONGINES Rider Challenge. The winner receives $30,000 and a LONGINES timepiece.

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Two-time Olympic team gold medalists McLain Ward and Beezie Madden head the impressive list of show jumping superstars entered in this year’s Classic. Ward has won the Hampton Classic Grand Prix a record six times, and he is entered on Rothchild, the horse on whom he won the individual Gold Medal at the XVII Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada earlier this summer.

In addition to her two Olympic team gold medals, Beezie Madden also won the individual Bronze Medal in 2008 and the FEI World Cup Championship in 2013. She has been named the USEF Equestrian of the Year four times. She is entered on Cortes “C” on whom she just won the LONGINES King George V Gold Cup in Hickstead, England for the second consecutive year. She is the only woman rider ever to win the prestigious event in its 109-year history.

Other top U.S. riders at the Classic include Olympic veterans Margie Engle, Peter Leone, Peter Wylde, Chris Kappler and Mario Deslauriers, as well as crowd favorite Georgina Bloomberg, Ward’s teammate on the U.S.’s Bronze Medal team at this summer’s Pan Am Games.

Georgina Bloomberg and Jill Rappaport at the the ASPCA Adoption and Animal Welfare Day.
Georgina Bloomberg and Jill Rappaport at the the ASPCA Adoption and Animal Welfare Day. Photo credit: Barbara Lassen

Heading the impressive line-up of international riders is the defending champion in the Classic’s featured event, Irish Olympic veteran Kevin Babington, who placed fourth in the individual competition at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Babington is entered on Shorapur, the mount he rode to victory in last year’s $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix.

The Hampton Classic, which opened on August 23, features six show rings, a Boutique Garden, a wide selection of dining options and a farmers market, all on its 60-acre show grounds. The Classic hosts more than 100 classes of competition for horses and riders of all ages and abilities.


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