Oct. 24–29

Verizon Center

The Industry

equestrian competition

The Attendees

nearly 50,000 fans of equitation, dressage, barrel racing, jumping, and turbocharged terriers

The Issues

Equus Miraculous: In the “Vendor Village” ringing the stadium, Jenny Spain of Simple Changes told true healing-horse tales. During its first year, the Mason Neck, Va., therapeutic riding center hosted developmentally disabled adults who improved their language skills and a 4-year-old who couldn’t walk due to a genetic disorder—until riding strengthened her muscles and helped her learn to ambulate.

Blackened Beauty: “It’s spray paint for horses,” said a groom, as she covered cuts and nicks with an ebony hue to match a steed’s fur. Otherwise the dings could distract show judges.

Dancing With the Steeds: Nine-year-old gelding Pop Art and his rider/owner, Ashley Holzer, won cheers, money, and the overall Invitational Dressage championship for their Grand Prix Freestyle performance, choreographed to music from Riverdance, the Irish step-dancing revue. Show-stoppers included Pop Art’s precision piaffe and passage trotted in perfect time with the tune. This was the horse’s first Grand Prix competition.

Winning Isn’t Everything: Terrier race spectators included a gregarious Jack Russell who dropped out of competition after demonstrating greater interest in socializing with competitors than in running against them.—Rob Tierney