The 45th Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show Returns This Sunday

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Trip to Paris gets a nice washdown by a groom on Opening Day of the 2019 Hampton Classic. MICHAEL HELLER

​After being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Hampton Classic Horse Show is set to make its much anticipated return to 240 Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton this Sunday, August 29, culminating with the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, presented by Land Rover the following Sunday, September 5.

With more than $800,000 in prize money up for grabs, the show, now in its 45th year, draws the best hunter, jumper and equitation riders from around the country — and even the globe, with competitors as young as 2 competing in the leadline division, and adults well into their 60s still showing in other divisions. More than 1,500 horses and ponies come to the show, which also attracts celebrities and other VIPs in addition to horse industry professionals.

Opening day, otherwise known as ‘Locals Day,’ is set for this Sunday, August 29.

The Classic has also created a tradition of hosting classes for riders with disabilities. Opening Day is when local riders get to shine, with a full slate of classes specifically geared toward riders who stable their horses at Long Island barns.

Throughout the week, the show will host five FEI classes, the top level of show jumping, and they will feature some of the best riders in the world, several of whom will be making their first appearance back in the show ring since competing in the Tokyo Olympics. Over the course of the week, competition will take place in 65 show rings on the 65-acre grounds, which also includes a boutique shopping garden, several food vendors, and a kids activity area. The show’s kids day, sponsored by News12 Long Island this year, has been moved to Thursday, after traditionally being held on Saturday.

There are a few new additions to this year’s show, including a new award. The Currey Cup perpetual trophy, donated and sponsored by Christian Currey in memory of his parents, Agneta and Brownlee Currey, will be presented to the winner of the newly named “Agneta and Brownlee Currey Jumping Derby.”

Agneta Currey served on the Hampton Classic’s Board of Directors for more than 35 years, including nearly three decades as chair. Her husband, Brownlee, was a longtime board member of the U.S. Equestrian Team, USET Foundation and Show Jumping Hall of Fame, and together the couple were long-time sponsors of the Classic as well as many other equestrian events and organizations. They owned many successful horses, most notably being part owners of Touch of Class, who carried Joe Fargis to double gold medals at the 1984 Olympic Games. Agneta and Brownlee both died in 2020.

“Agneta and Brownlee Currey were among the most significant contributors to the Hampton Classic and the sport of show jumping over the last four decades,” said Shanette Barth Cohen, the Classic’s executive director. “Christian suggested establishing the new award in their memory and we agreed without hesitation. We’re proud to honor them with both the renaming of our show jumping derby and the establishment of the Currey Cup perpetual trophy.”

Little Eliza Style Strong competes in the Lead Line competition for 2-4 year-olds during the 2019 Hampton Classic Opening Day on Sunday, 8/25/19

Other significant awards being presented during the Classic include the $5,000 Mane ’n Tail Hunter Rider Challenge, which will award $5,000 to the rider who accumulates the most points at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows and the Hampton Classic Horse Show in designated hunter divisions.

Bottles of Château D’Esclans will be awarded to the top three finishers in the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix CSI, presented by Land Rover and a Longines timepiece will be awarded to the winning rider of the $73,000 Longines Cup, the $75,000 Grand Prix Qualifier and the Hampton Classic Grand Prix. The $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge awards a $30,000 cash prize and a timepiece to the rider who accumulates the most points in the horse show’s Open Jumper Division.

There is also a new groom’s award for the winning groom of the Classic’s $10,000 Equitation Championship presented by Palm Beach International Academy, courtesy of Beval Saddlery. The Classic is also presenting $500 cash prizes to the grooms of the winning horse of the $10,000 Hunter Classic, courtesy of Aden Brook, and of the Grand Prix. Also, the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Style of Riding Award is presented to the Junior Jumper rider who throughout the week best exemplifies the American style of equitation, as modeled by riders such as Show Jumping Hall of Famers Conrad Homfeld and Joe Fargis.

The Hampton Classic Horse Show is partnering with Green Is the New Blue to expand its environmental efforts. Green Is the New Blue is a non-profit organization that strives to reduce the environmental impact of horse shows for a more sustainable sport, on a number of environmental initiatives including: Green Is the New Blue’s Living Jump, which will be used in the Anne Aspinall Ring. The jump features vegetation native to Long Island’s East End. Following the horse show, the Living Jump’s flora will be planted on the Hampton Classic showgrounds to support the local ecosystem.

Phoebe Topping takes her mount Epic over a jump in 2019. MICHAEL HELLER

The Classic is also introducing paperless ticketing for Grand Prix Sunday and Green Is the New Blue is providing a muslin VIP pouch, which will be utilized to hold the VIP pins for both Opening Day and week-long VIP table patrons, replacing plastic bags used previously. It is also providing the VIP wristbands for Grand Prix Sunday made out of fabric, thus reducing single use plastic.

Green Is the New Blue and the Hampton Classic are also partnering for a sustainable shopping experience in Agneta Currey Boutique Garden. It’s providing the Hampton Classic Souvenir Shop’s “shopper bag” which is given to any customer spending $250 or more and is also available for purchase.

Green Is the New Blue is bringing its initiative of a “Plastic-Free Ingate” to every competition arena by providing bamboo cups with “not a tree” written on them and is providing bilingual signage at the Classic’s Mane ’n Tail spa stations to remind exhibitors and grooms to save water by turning off hoses when not in use.

The Classic has long been at the forefront of environmental responsibility with some of its previous efforts such as purchasing equipment for its manure removal company to strain out inorganic materials discarded in manure bins so manure and shavings can be composted and added back into the soil at farms in the local area. Additionally, the trash removal company the Hampton Classic utilizes sends all trash to a sorting facility, ensuring recyclable items are recycled.

“Green Is the New Blue has been a driving force in helping horse shows reduce their environmental impact,” said Barth Cohen. “The Hampton Classic endorses their efforts and we are proud to join forces with them to help bring about a greener tomorrow for everyone.”

The Hampton Classic’s 65-acre venue boasts six show rings, the Agneta Currey Boutique Garden with approximately 80 vendors, international food options as well as the Classic’s high-end VIP areas. There are also kid-friendly activities throughout the week including pony rides, petting farm animals, daily special attractions and more.

Each year, approximately 50,000 people — including many A-list celebrities — come to watch the nation’s best equestrian athletes compete at the Hampton Classic. The world-class event showcases more than 1,500 horses competing in 200 hunter, jumper and equitation classes.

The Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities will be Monday, August 30.

Some of the Classic’s highlights include the Finals of the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities presented by Dime Bank and the Classic’s 10th annual Animal Adoption Day, which will feature horse rescues that are part of the EQUUS Foundation’s guardian program and many dog and cat rescues as well. Both of these activities take place on Monday, August 30.

Daily admission to the Classic is $20 per carload. Admission is free on Monday, and seniors are admitted free on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, complimentary live webcasts of all Grand Prix ring competitions air on the Hampton Classic website, produced by ClipMyHorseTV and courtesy of Longines. ClipMyHorseTV is also providing a complimentary live webcast of all Anne Aspinall ring competitions and archive video, all available on the Hampton Classic website. In addition, WVVH-TV, Hamptons Television, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen online at www.wvvh.tv.

Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available at the Hampton Classic website, hamptonclassic.com or by calling 631-537-3177.

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