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The 35th Hampton Classic Trots Into Bridgehampton

Originally Posted: August 31, 2010

All smiles at opening day of the 35th Annual Hampton Classic. (Lisa Tamburini)

Serious concentration was called for among the young competitors. (Lisa Tamburini)

Bridgehampton - The Hampton Classic's equestrian competition began on Sunday, August 29, one day following the close of the Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge at Blue Star Jets Field - yes, folks - August is hot and horsey here in the Hamptons!

The competition will continue through Sunday, September 5, with hunter, jumper and equestrian competitions daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The competitors on Sunday may have been a little shorter and the horses a little smaller, but make no mistake about it - these pint size competitors are in hot pursuit of blue ribbons, and the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup Qualifier that concludes this annual favorite event.

Featuring more than 70 boutiques, an international food court, pony rides, zoo animals, special attractions, and much more on the grounds at 240 Snake Hollow Road, day one showcased some talented and adorable competitors, as well as their trusty steeds.

Nervousness didn't overtake this happy young rider.

For a modest $10 per person or $20 per carload (with children under six admitted free), this is one of the most reasonably priced and truly enjoyable events to wind down the dog (or pony) days of summer.

Additionally, on Saturday (September 4), children under 12 will be admitted free, while seniors will be admitted free on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Reserved Grandstand Seats (numbered bench seating) for Grand Prix Sunday (September 5) costs an additional $20/person; Premium Center-section Reserved Seats on Grand Prix Sunday cost $30/person.

Opening day centered on the Grand Prix Ring with the Hampton Classic Leadline, where dozens of ponies paraded about with their riders, some as young as two - the riders that is - and were judged by Olympic Silver medalist Joe Fargis. While nervous parents, grandparents and friends watched, many of the youngsters were sporting both precious smiles and serious 'game on' faces.

If the viewing made you too tense, you could always shop at the The Hampton Classic's souvenir booth which is offering an extensive variety of items, from tee-shirts and sweatshirts to jackets, as well as the annual poster by artist Mary Verrandeaux, cups, mugs, notepads and more.

Don't be fooled by the age or size of these young participants - this is a serious competition and warrants the respect and applause of any sporting event where skill, poise and talent are so masterfully displayed.

For more information go to www.hamptonclassic.com.

One of the courses at the Hampton Classic Bridgehampton grounds on Snake Hollow Road. (Joe Strand)

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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