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Hampton Classic: It's Show Time In The Hamptons

Devon Aragona

Jumpers compete in the Grand Prix ring all week long. (Courtesy Photo)

It takes years of dedication, training, failures, and something that can only be identified as an obsession with horses in order to succeed in the competitive world of horse showing and jumping.

These dedicated equestrians will bring their skills, bravery, and passion to the Hamptons for the 38th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show starting Sunday, August 25, 2013, through Sunday, September 1, 2013.

The top competitors know the hard work and sacrifice it takes to get to the top of the show ring.

In his Hampton Classic rider biography, top show jumper Aaron Vale says, "I never thought about doing anything else," when talking about his decision to become a professional equestrian athlete.

Not coming from a background that gave him the opportunity to own his own horse and compete on the circuit easily, Vale worked as a catch rider, earning his next ride into the show ring with the success of the previous one. He met success on borrowed horses. Vale was reserve champion at all three of the nation's top equitation finals - the AHSA Medal, the ASPCA Maclay and the USET Talent Search.

Top equestrians travel across the globe to compete for the glory, honors and thrill that can only come from grand prix jumping, one of the highest levels of competition in the equestrian world. They will put their skills to the test in the Grand Prix ring on the Bridgehampton show grounds, beginning on Sunday with the $50,000 Hampton Classic Hunter Derby.

The ring will host one of the most prestigious classes, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup Qualifier that has been won by the likes of McLain Ward, (a record six times,) Kent Farrington, and Hilary Dobbs, the youngest rider to ever take home the honors. The class, which takes place on Sunday, September 1, serves as a qualifying competition for the 2014 Longines FEI World Cup Final in Lyon, France next April.

For those who have not reached the prestige of the grand prix level, there are plenty of opportunities for amateurs to show their skills in one of the other five show rings with classes being offered for all level of riders, from leadliners, to equitation and short stirrup up through the amateur and adult amateur levels.

If you enjoy the equestrian world out of the saddle, there will be plenty of excitement watching the jumping, exploring 70 boutiques, enjoying an international food court, pony rides, petting zoo animals, and special attractions.

A new sight for this year's competition will be the clock that spectators can expect to see throughout the grounds which will keep the times of competitors.

This year, Longines Watchmakers has signed a long-lasting partnership agreement with the Classic, and will be assuming title partnership of the Classic's Saturday afternoon Grand Prix, the $40,000 Longines Cup, and presenting partnership of Friday afternoon's $50,000 Spy Coast Farm/Young Horse Show Series Grand Prix Qualifier. As an added bonus, the Longines' partnership also includes the initiation of the new Longines Rider Challenge that will award $30,000 to the rider who accumulates the most points in the horse show's Open Jumper division.

"We are so excited to welcome Longines to the Hampton Classic's family of sponsors," said Shanette Barth Cohen, the horse show's Executive Director. "Through its commitments to the FEI and other major entities like the Global Champions Tour, Longines has established itself as one of the world's biggest supporters of equestrian sports and we are thrilled that they have chosen to include the Hampton Classic in this elite group."

An elite group of competitors riding for high stakes takes guts to get the glory. Join the action and support the hard work of the competitors by coming out any, or all of the days.

General admission daily is $10 per person (under 6 free) or $20 per carload. Seniors are free Tuesday to Thursday and kids are free on Saturday. Reserved Seats for Grand Prix Sunday cost $25 per person for bench seats in the Grandstands (in addition to $10 per person or $20 per carload admission) or $35 per person for premium center-section Grandstand seating. Parking for the show is free.

For more information visit the www.hamptonclassic.com

And good luck to all competitors!

Hampton Classic Post by artist Jocelyn Sandor Urban. (Courtesy Photo)

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