Hampton Classic Scratches 2020 Horse Show

Shawn McMillen
McLain Ward, seen here on HH Gigi’s Girl in 2018, are among the many riders who will be disappointed by the Hampton Classic cancellation.

The Hampton Classic Horse Show will not take place this summer, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a first in the show’s 45-year history.

One of the leading equestrian events, originally scheduled to take place August 29 through September 5, the Bridgehampton show is one of the largest outdoor shows in the country.

“It is difficult to express how disappointing this is for everyone,” Shanette Barth Cohen, the Classic’s executive director, said in a statement. “However, given the current situation and the uncertainty that lies ahead, our board reached the conclusion that there really is no other option. Naturally, the safety and well-being of our exhibitors, and everyone involved with the Classic, takes first priority and the board is unanimous in its belief that the wisest course of action is to put all our efforts and resources into ensuring that the Classic is able to return next year at the same high standard that everyone expects.”

The horse show, a nonprofit in its own right, has given more than $2 million to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital over the last 44 years.

The show not only draws top equestrians from around the country, but also local riders and fans of the sport, as well as shoppers to the high-end Boutique Garden. The show usually hosts more than 200 classes of competition for horses and riders, from leadline to the Sunday grand prix. The show also hosts a competition for riders with disabilities.

This is the first time the show will not take place at all, though it has faced interruptions due to weather. “In 2011, we started on Wednesday, because of Hurricane Irene, but we were able to reschedule virtually every class to fit the full show into the shortened schedule,” Cohen said in an email.

“I want to thank Longines, NetJets, Land Rover, Mane ‘n Tail, and Hermès and all our sponsors for their continued support,” Cohen said. “Without the ongoing support of our sponsors, patrons, and exhibitors, we would not be able to maintain the Classic as the world-class event that has come to mean so much to so many. On behalf of the board, I offer all our supporters our deepest thanks and appreciation.”

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