Horse shows off and running in North Salem

The Spring Horse Shows at Old Salem Farm — which return to the rolling verdure of North Salem May 9 through 21 — afford locals a splendid opportunity to see world-class riders, including members of the U.S. Olympic team, in international competitions.

And the camaraderie, food and shopping aren’t bad, either. 

“A lot of what people like about horse shows and the competition is the social aspect,” says Chelsea Dwinell, the Farm’s marketing and sponsorship coordinator, who’s been riding since age 4 and whose best friends are riders she’s known her whole life. “It’s family friendly and it’s nice to relax when you’re done riding at the end of the day.”

Indeed, you can picnic hillside, stroll along with the pooch and kids, kibitz with merchants, artists and veterinarians or hobnob in the signature two-tier VIP tent, which will host an evening party for the first time May 14, Dwinell says. For the second year in a row, Brewster-based Clock Tower Grill will have a pop-up restaurant upstairs in the majestic Main Barn, overlooking an indoor ring, along with an outdoor stand that will take its place amid jewelry, clothing, saddle and photography vendors.

Still, it’s all in service of the competition — hunter, jumper and equitation events in all classes, junior and adult, amateur and professional.  (For new fans, hunter competitions are the equine version of the artistic score in figure skating, purely subjective, while jumper events are all about equine athleticism with the horse making the fewest mistakes in the least amount of time winning. Equitation events also are about artistry, but they focus on the rider’s form.)

Highlights include the $15,000 Old Salem Farm Speed Derby, a $5,000 Equitation Challenge and a jumper competition culminating with the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix in the first week. The second week offers a $10,000 international hunter derby and three grand prix events with the $130,000 Empire State Grand Prix closing out the show on May 21. 

Old Salem Farm — rated one of the best equestrian competition venues by the North American Riders Group from 2011 through 2015 and home of that fall classic, the American Gold Cup — will also present a 25 jumper division for riders making the transition into the grand prix ranks from junior competition. A $5,000 Grooms’ Class will honor the grooms of the horses, and $5,000 leading rider awards will be presented in both hunter and jumper divisions.

Adds Dwinell: “If you’re into horses — or you’re not into horses — there’s something for everyone.”

The 2017 Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows will kick off May 7 with the popular Welcome Day, featuring hunter and jumper competition, including the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program. For more, call 914-669-5610 or visit

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