DIHP Newsletter #5
From our Desert Circuit 2020 Prize List:
We look forward to welcoming everyone to our first winter circuit at the Desert International Horse Park. For those who are returning after National Sunshine Series, we are thrilled to have you back. The November shows were a great trial run for the eight-week winter circuit and we listened to all of your feedback and went to work on as much as we could get done in the nine weeks between the shows. For those of you visiting us for the first time, we hope you enjoy the improvements we have made and look forward to your input as well. To everyone, we wish you the best for a fun, successful, and safe show experience for you and your horses.
Our efforts to improve the experience at DIHP center on three areas – the physical show grounds, the hospitality and the competition. I wanted to highlight a few of the improvements we have made since NSS as well as our objectives and highlights in the competition. On the physical show grounds, we have addressed the following issues:
1. Additional shade and seating for exhibitors, trainers, and fans – We know it can get hot when you are on the show grounds for many hours a day. We have added tents with additional seating on the berm at the entrance to the Grand Prix arena and on the ground along-side the arena. We have done the same for Jumper 4 where no shade or seating existed and added seating at Hunter 7 where none existed. We have also purchased new seating which you’ll find in all of the shade structures by each ring and on the berms above Hunter 1 and 2 and the Grand Prix arena. Hopefully this will make the place even more comfortable for everyone.
2. Additional shade and comfort for horses – You’ll find at the top of the hunter schooling area and at the far end of the Grand Prix schooling area our first efforts to build permanent shade structures that work for horse or horse and rider. They include fans and misters to keep everyone out of the sun and a bit cooler. We look forward to your thoughts on these as we envision adding these more broadly around the rings.
3. New tents/stalls for horses – We are excited to add a row of eight clear span tents with 65 12×12 stalls in each. These tents are located right behind the permanent stalls. Obviously addressing the need for additional larger stalls has been a priority of ours. We think you’ll love these new places for your horses. We have shifted our pole tents to the third row with the best of our 10×10 stalls. Importantly, we have lowered the price of these stalls and believe these two options will help to improve the affordability of being at our horse shows.
4. Additional cleaning, painting and landscaping – We know the general condition and appearance of the horse park is critical to people enjoying being there for many weeks. We think you’ll see further improvement here and you’ll come to love the “noise” of our sweeper every Monday morning as we try to keep the place clean all circuit long.
5. Expansion of vendors – You’ll notice the new Ariat store when you come back for the winter. It is located where the coffee shop was during the 2019 winter circuit. We have contracted with Hayutin & Associates to run our school and with The Grand Paw to offer dog pick up and drop off service. We have quite a few more surprises and think you’ll find our longer and more diverse vendor row a happier place to shop.
6. Upgrade of wash racks – We continue to make more progress in upgrading our wash racks to ensure each has an adequate amount of shade and rubber mats for the safety and comfort of our horses.
7. More jumps – We got great feedback on how our rings looked at NSS, and with all twelve rings in use for the eight weeks of the winter circuit we made another purchase of jumps so that all of the rings have a great, challenging feel for the horses.
8. Additional signage and traffic control – We want everyone to be safe walking and riding around the horse park. We know the bumps by Barn 1 might not have been popular with cars but I know a few horses who slept a bit better. We continue to work on signage and traffic control so that all are safe.
On the competition side, we are incredibly excited about our line-up. Ultimately, our goal is to host great competition and be a catalyst for the sport on the west coast. Some of our highlights include:
1. Expanded hunter derby program – We’re excited to run a USHJA hunter derby every week this coming winter. We have three international derbies and five national derbies. Two of the international derbies are $50,000 classes and are a direct response to a desire to host the top level of derby competition at the horse park for the hunters.
2. Consistent and meaningful Grand Prix program – Rather than offer a single large purse, we have scheduled a six-figure Grand Prix every week. The vast majority of riders wanted a consistent large purse opportunity with an associated challenging course. We’ll end the season with a $250k Invitational for the riders who had the most success during season.
3. New FEI program – We understand that a robust FEI program is central to the longer-term success of the top jumper riders on the West Coast. We will be running a 3* both week five and week six. We have also adopted a tiered structure to give more riders the opportunity to participate in our FEI weeks, with nine classes each week ranging from 1.35m to 1.55m.
4. Young horse and young rider program – We continued with our young jumper program for 5, 6 and 7 year olds. As in the past, there are no entry fees for these horses. We think it is important for us to continue the efforts to support of owner and trainers to develop young show horses. On the young rider side, we will continue with the U25 overlay for weeks one to seven and we have added a separate $15,000 Invitational for week 8 to celebrate the success of our U25 riders.
5. Lower height jumper program – We had a number of discussions with riders who participate in the lower height jumper divisions. We have decided to shift all of these classes from blue ribbon to pinned classes so that these riders can gain experience in real competition and have the pride of getting a real blue ribbon.
6. Lower height hunter program – In response to requests from riders and trainers competing in the 3-foot divisions and below, we are offering some exciting new elements to the line-up. These include handy rounds, a hunter hack division, derbies, a pro-am challenge, and a 3’ equitation challenge.
7. Fun classes and awards – With all the great serious competition, we thought it would be fun to add a few things for the support teams behind our competitors. These include a family class and a parent lead line class. And importantly, we’ve added groom awards for all Grand Prix classes and hunter derbies.
We hope these highlights make you as excited as we are for the winter. As you know, we are riders and horse people at heart. Lastly, many people, too many to name, have helped shape the competitor program. I want to give a sincere thank you for all your help. This is a long journey for us and we are committed to making DIHP as fun and enjoyable as possible.