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Story Ideas at the Hampton Classic
Building the Mini-City: From the acres of tenting, to the boutique garden filled with shops, to the stalls housing more than a thousand horses, it's a huge undertaking.
Spa Time: The horses get their nails (hooves) and hair (mane and tail) done. Massages are their regular grooming sessions. They get bathed, do aerobic exercises and get acupuncture. The horses at the show are treated better than their riders.
A Day in the Life of a Groom: Up before 5:00 a.m. to bathe, braid, groom and prepare their mounts. Some grooms even sleep next to their horses. It's a long but fascinating day spent with little time to relax.
Olympic Prowess: From Los Angeles to London, Olympic riders are regular competitors at the Hampton Classic.
The Future: The kids who ride and devote their love and attention to horse sports also learn respect, discipline, pride and much more. They have to make sacrifices in their lives and work long hours to keep on top.
Horse Show Moms and Dads: The devoted parents of riding kids are quite special. Moms and dads watch, support and cheer on their kids. Many don't mind being a "groom for a day."
Farmers Market and Gourmet Food Options: This year, the Hampton Classic Horse Show is expanding food options for horse show attendees. In addition to the veteran food vendors from previous years, the Classic is adding almost 10 new vendors, and a new twist on a New York tradition: a Farmers Market. The Classic will feature 18 gourmet food choices scattered throughout the show grounds for riders and spectators to enjoy a culinary connection to the state of New York’s local food businesses.
On The Road Again: It's a traveling show as they unpack and pack, going from show to show. The riders, trainers, grooms, owners and horses are constantly on the road. Some make a few trips in airplanes, competing across the U.S. or across the world and even go so far as to ride in the cargo compartments with their charges.
Behind the Scenes with the Staff: Shanette Barth Cohen, a former competitor, is the Classic’s Executive Director and is available for interviews at the Classic. Other officials, many of whom also have fascinating backgrounds, are also available for interviews.
Hollywood in the Hamptons: From Steven Spielberg to Matt Lauer, from Bruce Springsteen to Billy Joel and Jerry Seinfeld to Kelly Ripa, there are numerous celebrities who come to the Hampton Classic. It's the “Hollywood” Horse Show. Many celebrities have a vested interest in the competition as they have children competing.
Flowery Designs: Those decorations around the grounds are the creation of many local florists and nurserymen, guided by the show's Flower Committee, headed by Agneta Currey. These volunteers oversee and decorate jumps in our main ring, entrances to each of the show rings and VIP seating areas and other public areas of the grounds.
Cottages and Gardens Table Design Contest: The Hampton Classic features the Hamptons Cottages and Gardens Table Contest for the most outstanding table setting in the VIP tent on Sunday, August 31.
Feeding the Posse: Feeding the horses and the people on the grounds is a task of its own. How much food is required and how it is handled is worth the research.
Sag Harbor Food Pantry Drive: On Aug. 26 and 27, any spectator who presents three or more nonperishable items at the entrance gate of the event will be granted free admission. Items donated to the drive will go to the local Sag Harbor Food Pantry.
The Annual Poster: Over the years the annual Hampton Classic Poster has become a collectors' item, with lots of time taken each year to showcase another aspect of equestrian art while maintaining a connection to the Hampton Classic itself.
The Youngest Riders: They are miniature versions of the riders you will see competing, but these pint-sized equestrians have their seats firmly in place. They are in the age seven and under category —and they’re on lead lines. The love affair with horses starts early in this crowd. The youngest future champion is only three years old. Some are the children of Olympians and grand prix champions and represent the next generation of equestrian competitors.
Rider Profiles: Sydney Olympian Margie Engle won the Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Los Angeles Olympic Gold Medalist Joe Fargis, was the Hampton Classic Grand Prix champion in 1991 and again in 2005. Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward has won the Hampton Classic’s featured Grand Prix a record six times.
Shop Shop Buy Buy: The Hampton Classic logo has been spotted all over the world. Be sure to check out the souvenir booth where this logo appears on t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, baseball hats and more to take home a little piece of the Hampton Classic with you!
A Huge Operation: What does it take to feed (and shovel) 1,400 horses twice a day for a week at the Hampton Classic? It takes a lot of know how and organization. How about housing not only the horses, but their extensive entourages. Take a look at the schedule that makes it happen. The people who get it done and how much this all means in dollars per day, per horse.
What’s what in Horse and Rider Gear: Stop by and check out the elegant hand crafted boots at Der-Dau Custom Boots & Shoes and at Vogels Boots and Shoes in the Boutique Garden, or the latest fashion in rider attire at Alessandro Albanese. Beval’s Tack Shop on Stable Row offers all manner of show tack repair. Stroll around and ask questions about the equipment and clothing and why it is designed as it is. There’s a reason they’re wearing what they wear.
Women Riders Give Men a Run for the Money: Show Jumping is one of the few international and Olympic sports where women and men compete on equal footing in the same competitions. All equestrian competitions at the Hampton Classic are open to both men and women.
Huge, Skilled Staff Descends on Hampton Classic: More than 100 staff members with a variety of skills are needed to produce one of the country’s largest hunter/jumper horse shows. Everything from skilled hunter judges to turf specialists, from equine chiropractors to farriers, from photographers and videographers to jump crew members, and from ring announcers to tractor drivers. About half of the crew is hired locally with the balance flying in from all corners of the country. Interviews are available with all of our horse show production specialists.
Homes Away from Home - for Horse and Owners, Both! With more than 1,600 stalls occupied at the Hampton Classic, the show is one of the largest one week “horse hotels” in the world. First time visitors to the Circuit are struck by the beautiful tack room offices that the owners set up on the front row of their stable locations on site. Elaborate landscaping sets the tone of most high-end tack rooms where riders proudly display the ribbons that they have won throughout the week.
Medical Sophistication for Man and Beast: A host of medical practitioners ranging from skilled EMTs to chiropractors to veterinarians as well as a broad range of suppliers of therapeutic medical devices are on hand at the Hampton Classic Horse Show to assure that both riders and their mounts remain in top shape throughout the week. The HEART Equine Ambulance, a state of the art rig, will be on-site to assist in any equine related emergencies.
Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities: The finals for the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities (LIHSSRD) will be held on Monday, August 25 of the Hampton Classic Horse Show. The show series, created by HorseAbility, was founded to provide riders with disabilities the same competitive experience that other riders enjoy.
Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge: The Hampton Classic’s $250,000 Grand Prix is part of the Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge which awards a $200,000 bonus should the same horse-and-rider combination win the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon, $250,000 Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic, and $250,000 Grand Prix at the National Horse Show.
Hampton Classic Pays it Forward: Since 1977, the Hampton Classic has made annual financial contributions totaling more than one-and-three-quarter million dollars to its official community partner, Southampton Hospital. The Classic also supports many other non-profit organizations and equestrian related charities such as ASPCA, JustWorld International, Sag Harbor Food Pantry, the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities and the Bridgehampton Fire Department. The Hampton Classic is an event with a deep economic impact on the local community.
Grand Prix Sunday: Year after year, Grand Prix Sunday is one of the highlights of the Hampton Classic. Not only does it feature the highest levels of equestrian competition, but it also draws masses of spectators and celebrities to the Bridgehampton show grounds. The first grand prix at the Hampton Classic was offered in 1977 and had a purse of $10,000. Over the years, the event has grown to an impressive purse of $250,000 and featuring some of the world’s best equestrians.
Management Profiles: The Hampton Classic is proud to have one of the strongest management teams in North American horse sports.
Executive Director: Shanette Barth Cohen became Executive Director following the 2005 Hampton Classic Horse Show. She has instituted several improvements to the Classic that have enhanced its position as one of America’s most highly regarded hunter/jumper horse shows. Cohen, a former frequent competitor in the Hampton Classic, was President of Barth Group LLC, a New York-based event-marketing company serving major corporations. Cohen has marketed and planned events for clients including Swiss Re, Vivendi Universal, The National Horse Show, Volunteers of America and Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. In addition to her leadership of Barth Group, she previously served as Director of Marketing Development for the American Horse Shows Association (now the United States Equestrian Federation), with responsibility for sponsorship marketing, public relations and the organization’s annual convention. She also served for a decade in a volunteer role as Co-Executive Director of the International Student Riding Association, organizing competitions in the United States and trips for international competition in 15 countries. She previously worked in Washington as a lobbyist and as a White House assistant in the Administration of President George Herbert Walker Bush. Cohen is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College.
Chairperson: Lisa Tarnapol Deslauriers is an accomplished Grand Prix rider who competed internationally for the United States and still competes on the winter and summer circuits. She was selected by the United States Equestrian Federation as an alternate to the United States’ 2007 Pan American Games team. She is a real estate professional and has been the chair of the Classic for the past six years.
President: Dennis Suskind, a former amateur jumper rider, is a retired partner of Goldman, Sachs & Company, Inc. He is currently involved in several private business ventures and philanthropic endeavors. Mr. Suskind is the President of the Board of Directors of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health and Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge. He has been an active fundraiser for Brown University and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Marymount School in New York City. He is a director of the Bridgehampton National Bank and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Mr. Suskind completed a term as an elected member of the Town Board of the Town of Southampton. His leadership and negotiating skills, combined with his dedication to protecting the natural beauty of Southampton, have resulted in many land preservation projects of which the Town can be proud. His keen business acumen has given well-focused direction to the Hampton Classic’s long-range business plan.