April 2019 - Del Mar National Preview


Equestrian excitement abounds at the Del Mar National, starting April 16.

Get ready for a thrilling three weeks of world-class equestrian competitions at the 74th annual Del Mar National Horse Show April 16-May 5, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The Del Mar National Horse Show is steeped in tradition and has a rich history of showcasing some of the most exciting and prestigious equestrian competitors in the country. The show attracts nearly 1,500 horses in three distinct disciplines: Western, Dressage and Hunter/Jumper.

New this year: Hunter/Jumper Week will feature FEI CSI3* classes – a prestigious international designation for Grand Prix riders. The Del Mar National Horse Show is renowned for quality awards including a multitude of exquisite Perpetual Trophies.

Much of the Del Mar National Horse Show is free for spectators to come and watch nearly every day of the three-week run. The featured Saturday evening events require a paid admission, and tickets are now available for both reserved seating and gourmet dinner VIP boxes online at delmarnational.com.


Western Week: April 16-20

Western Week features four AQHA/PCQHA/NSBA Shows, a Youth State Qualifier Circuit and All-Around Awards, a PCHA Open Horse Show, and NRHA Classes. Western Week is back-to-back with the Double Feature Show where exhibitors can show in front of 12 AQHA judges in 11 days.

Relive the Wild West of the 1800’s at the Del Mar National Horse Show’s acclaimed Night of the Horse at 7 p.m. April 20. The show features a 36-horse drill team, an original 1860 Concord Stagecoach, cowboys and cowgirls showing off daring feats and tricks while riding, and more.

Dressage Week FEI CDI-W: April 25-28

Dressage week features both International and National competition. An FEI CDI-W, it is an official USEF Qualifying Competition for the 2019 Pan American Games and the 2020 World Cup as well as for many national finals including: Grand Prix and Intermediaire l, Young Adult, Young and Developing Horse and the North American Youth Rider Championships.

The Del Mar National is one of the most highly regarded dressage competitions in the U.S., consistently attracting the world’s finest horses and riders. Many riders note that the Del Mar National is among their favorite venues and they compete here year after year.

You needn’t be an expert in the sport of dressage to be captivated by the Evening of Musical Freestyles  at 7 p.m. April 27, presented by Mossy Automotive Group featuring the G-2 Software CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyles. The event features Olympic, World and National Champions demonstrating the artistry, athleticism and awe-inspiring collaboration between horse and rider in a perfect display of strength and elegance – all set to music in choreographed routines. 

Hunter/Jumper Week FEI CSI3*: April 30-May 5

Hunter/Jumper week will feature FEI CSI3* classes at this year’s show. In addition, world class horses and riders will vie for more than $300,000 in prize money. Competitors from throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico travel here to compete at the historic Del Mar National Horse Show.

Three rings accommodate a full roster of classes which features the $35,700 Surfside Grand Prix Qualifier at 1 p.m. May 2 where horses and riders will compete to qualify for one of the 30 coveted spots in the prestigious $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar, presented by EQ International at 6:45 p.m. May 4.

Press release provided by the Del Mar National. For more information and tickets, visit www.delmarnational.com.

Steffen Peters. Photo: Terri Miller

Del Mar Dressage - Fun facts about heritage West Coast show.

Dressage began at Del Mar in 1992. Over 80 percent of the dressage staff have been with the show for over 10 years. Many volunteers have also been with us that long, including Bob and Marie Hart, who have been the CDI-W gate keepers on Saturday night for 10 years.


Dressage began as the first week of competition and Night Of The Horse was held Saturday night, during dressage week. In 1999 dressage hosted its first CDI-W – the “W” signifying it as having a qualifying class for the World Cup Finals, and the show moved to the three-week competition’s middle week. Evening of Musical Freestyles was added as the marquee event, while Night Of The Horse moved to Western Week. This year, Del Mar hosts one of the first qualifiers for the 2020 World Cup Finals-back in Las Vegas for the first time in several years.

Volunteers from Del Mar. Photo: Carol Tice

Steffen Peters has won more Grand Prix Freestyles than any other rider -- seven on four different horses in the CDIs and more if you count the early “national” years.

Some of the riders competing at Del Mar who have represented the US in Olympic, World Cup, World Equestrian Game and/or Pan American competition include, in alphabetical order:

  • Elizabeth Ball; Michael Barisone; Sue Blinks;
  • Charlotte Bredahl; Jan Ebeling; Marisa Festerling; Hilda Gurney; Kristina Harrison; Adrienne Lyle;
  • Debbie McDonald; Leslie Morse; Marie Meyers; Steffen Peters; Kathleen Raine; Donna Richardson; Guenter Seidel; Sabine Schut-Kery; Christine Traurig; and Leslie Webb.
  • Many more have gone on in NAJYRC, Young & Developing and National Championships.

You’ll have to attend Dressage Week, April 25-28, to find out who this year’s stars will be.

Submitted by Regina Antonioli, Del Mar Dressage manager. For more information and tickets, visit www.delmarnational.com.