Whether you are competing or are a spectator, attending a horse show is truly exciting. If you are lucky enough, you may get to attend some of the biggest horse shows and equestrian events in the world.
There are many prestigious horse shows in America and across the world, showcasing different breeds and disciplines. Some of the most elite equestrians and horses come to compete against the best of the best. From eventing to show jumping and everything in between, these shows attract competitors and spectators from all over.
Here are the biggest horse shows in the world.
1. Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event (United States)
With riders coming from all across the world, the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of the most prestigious eventing shows. This elite competition is held at the famous Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.
Every year, thousands of spectators come to witness some of the top horses and riders from around the world. During the event, horses and riders are tested in cross country, dressage, and show jumping. The show happens every year during the last weekend in April.
The show is a five-star level competition, which is the highest in the sport. Many competitors at this show also go on to compete at the Olympics.
2. Badminton Horse Trials (United Kingdom)
Held at the gorgeous Badminton House in South Gloucestershire, England, the Badminton Horse Trials is one of the most elite eventing competitions in the world. Held for more than 70 years, the Trials is a five-star competition, testing the best eventers in the world.
The Trials take place every year in either April or May. Attendance is typically around an incredible 200,000 people gathering to watch the best of the best. It is the highest-attending paid sporting event in the UK.
The dressage, show jumping, and cross country events all happen across the beautiful estate. With top eventers gathering from all across the world, many participants go on to compete at the Olympics.
3. Devon Horse Show (United States)
Since 1896, the Devon Horse Show has been held in Devon, Pennsylvania every June. It is the oldest and biggest outdoor multi-breed horse show in America.
In addition to the horse show, a country fair is also held. The show benefits the Bryn Mawr Hospital, with more than $15 million in donations raised so far. Classes include hunter/jumpers, carriage driving, equitation, Saddlebred, Hackney, Roadster, and open pleasure classes (Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat, and Pleasure Driving) that also draw in Morgans and Friesians.
Top equestrians from all across the country gather to compete at the stunning fairgrounds. Thousands of spectators come every year to watch the show and enjoy the fair attractions.
4. Calgary Stampede (Canada)
Said to be the “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, the Calgary Stampede attracts over one million visitors every year. Across the many events held, it features a rodeo, parade, and chuckwagon racing.
The Calgary Stampede is held in Calgary, Alberta, and happens every July. As one of the largest rodeo events in the world, it includes barrel racing, bareback riding, roping, steer wrestling, and bronco riding. Across the 10 days of action, there is a whopping $2 million in prize money in the rodeo alone.
The stampede is run by thousands of volunteers and supported by civic leaders. In addition to being one of the largest equestrian events, it is also one of the largest festivals in Canada.
5. Royal Horse Show (United Kingdom)
As part of the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair, the Royal Horse Show features Olympians and top international riders. Held across 10 days, the Royal is held in Toronto, Ontario every November.
The world-renowned horse show features the highest level of show jumping. In addition, there is also hunters, equitation, carriage driving, draft horses, Thoroughbreds, Welsh Ponies/Cobs, Hackney, and Roadster classes. Every year, 300,000 spectators come to witness Canada’s largest variety of equine breeds and events.
There are around 1,000 horses that compete every year, with nearly $1 million of prizes. In addition to the horse show, there is also a large agriculture event featuring livestock, crops, and food.
6. AQHA World Championship Show (United States)
Held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the AQHA World Championship Show spans 20 days every November. Nearly 5,000 Quarter horses compete at this prestigious show, with competitors coming from various countries.
As the largest single-breed world championship, there is a large variety of divisions in both English and western riding. Across the three weeks of competition, there is reining, western pleasure, hunter pleasure, jumping, in-hand, ranch, and also much more. In addition to the show, there are also educational opportunities and a large trade show.
Thousands of spectators come to watch the world’s best Quarter horses compete. This elite show features numerous world champion titles for amateur and open exhibitors.
7. Royal Windsor Horse Show (United Kingdom)
Held at the beautiful Windsor Castle, the Royal Windsor Horse Show is the UK’s largest outdoor premier Show. The show first started in 1943 to help raise funds for World War II and has grown in popularity ever since.
The Royal Windsor is the only international competition in the UK for dressage, show jumping, carriage driving, showing, and endurance. Out of all the events, the International Show Jumping is the highlight of the show. Featuring some of the best horses and riders, the show takes place every June.
Riders from all across the world come to compete at this prestigious competition. Thousands of people spectate every year, with the Queen herself even attending.
8. London International Horse Show (United Kingdom)
As one of the UK’s largest horse shows, the London International Horse Show features a wide variety of disciplines. Also known as Olympia, it is held the week prior to Christmas every December.
Though the main attraction is show jumping, the show also features dressage, showing, driving, mounted games, and even dog agility. It is the only show in the UK to host all three FEI World Cup Qualifiers in Dressage, Show Jumping, and Driving. The London International Show also hosts the final for the British Show Pony Society, the Shetland Grand National, and the ever-exciting puissance competition.
Thousands of spectators gather every year to watch this spectacular display of equestrian events. Many Olympic athletes and top equestrians from all around come to compete at this international show.
9. World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen (Germany)
Located in the charming city of Aachen, Germany, the World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen is the largest and best-attended equestrian event in the world. Many consider it to be the “Wimbledon of equestrian sport”.
The show includes the highest level of competition in show jumping, dressage, driving, and vaulting. The highlight of the festival is the annual Aachen Grand Prix, the jumping competition, which happens on the last day of the show. Elite horses and riders, including Olympians, from all over the world come to compete at this distinguished show.
Held every September, an incredible 350,000 come to watch the best of the best compete across ten days. The festival also holds various other events including the “Horse & Symphony” show, which includes live music from the Aachen Symphony Orchestra.
10. The Paris Horse Show (France)
Located in the heart of Paris, The Paris Horse Show features beautiful horses and riders across a variety of disciplines. Nearly 2,000 horses gather for 10 days of competition, equine ethology and health, performing arts, sales, and breeders.
The competition includes show jumping, dressage, eventing, harness, western, and vaulting. In addition, the show is home to the Longines Masters de Paris international horse jumping and the World Arabian Horse Championship. There are also other festive events such as the Salon du Cheval Parade and the Night of the Horse.
Held late November to early December annually, the show attracts around 150,000 spectators. Guests have the opportunity to watch demonstrations and even try out Western riding with a Quarter horse.