Oct 10, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
By Ami Olson
Amid myriad equine-related events held in the Syracuse area each year, one show will bring with it more than 100 years of tradition. The 125th National Horse Show will make its Syracuse debut as part of the Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament, when it return to the War Memorial at the OnCenter for the 2008 show on Wednesday, Oct. 29, kicking off five days of national competition, first-class performances and appearances by each member of the 2008 Olympic show jumping team.
“We’re going to have riders from all over the country, from all over the world, people who’ve competed in the Olympic Gold Medal team and other folks who’ve been in the Olympics from other countries,” said Mary Jo Madden Sloan, media relations for the tournament.
In its sixth year, the tournament conceived and organized by John Madden of Cazenovia is expected to bring more than eight million visitors, and hundreds horses to the city.
This year marks the first time the tournament has joined with the National Horse Show. The show, founded in 1883 at Madison Square Garden, is widely known as the oldest indoor show in the United States and one of the most prestigious shows in the country.
“It means a tremendous amount,” said Madden of the marrying of the National Horse Show and the Invitational. “It’s a little hard to let it sink in, that it means so much. I hope the people of Syracuse and Central New York will come out and support the honor. It’s a big deal, it’s a real big deal.”
The tournament, which runs from Wednesday to Sunday, Nov. 2, includes competitions, workshops, informational seminars, and a meet-and-greet with the 2008 Olympic gold medal show jumping team, including Beezie Madden of Cazenovia. John Madden said this would be the first time since the Olympics the entire team would be reunited.
One of the most exciting competitions, the Animal Planet Cup, is unique to the Syracuse tournament, Sloan said.
“The Syracuse Invitiational partly came about because of idea for the format for the event,” said Madden, who conceived the format of the cup. The competition puts the seven top-winning riders from throughout the tournament through three events, including a high jumping competition, a timed race around an obstacle course and a grand prix.
Madden said this event is entertaining for spectators of every level of experience with horses and competitions, and is one of the best shows of the entire tournament for families. The Animal Planet Cup is at 2 p.m. Sunday Nov. 2, and will air on the Animal Planet in January.
Competitions will be held each day throughout the tournament at OnCenter, as well as free workshops and informational sessions, shopping, and an opportunity for spectators to watch riders “schooling,” or warming up, before competitions.
Proceeds from the not-for-profit Syracuse Invitational will go to Cornell University and Vera House. For more information, visit Syracuseinvitational.com.