Equestrian sports are returning to Las Vegas. Currently, some of the best riders are competing and jumping in the 12th Annual Las Vegas National Horse Show.
But there’s more at stake than the $135,000 purse.
The indoor competition is held at the South Point Arena and Equestrian Center.
“The horse I have here, Darnita, won the World Cup qualifier in New York,” said Molly Ashe-Cawley, a rider.
Ashe-Cawley wants another win to secure valuable points towards another critical invitation.
“I sort of have the World Cup final in sight,” said Molly Ashe-Cawley, a rider. “So hopefully one more good result should secure my spot; I hope.”
This event is one of only 14 World Cup qualifiers in North America to determine which riders will go to the World Cup Finals next year in Sweden.
“When they go compete in World Cup it is in an indoor venue, so you’re truly testing the horses in the environment that they’re going to be performing at when they go to World Cup.”
The Olympic qualifier showcases jumpers,” said Melissa Brandes, VP of marketing for Blenheim Equisports.
“Jumpers are judged on their ability to go fast and leave the rails up,” said Mary Babick, the president of the United States Hunter Jumper Association.
This year’s show also includes another competition: The Inaugural AON- United States Hunter Jumper Association National Championships.
“Hunters are judged on their beauty of how they jump over the jumps, their smoothness, and rhythm,” said Babick.
These riders only compete for top honors this week.
“We have not really had that many championships out on the West Coast, and we thought it was time to show our West Coast members some love,” Babick said.
With that said, Ashe-Cawley says her mind remains focused on the Olympic qualifier.
“Hopefully we get some more good points,” said Ashe-Cawley who’s jumping her way over each obstacle for a chance to ride in a world cup.
The class competitions are free to the public all week except for the Olympic Qualifier which will be held Saturday at 7:30 p.m. That competition will cost $20.
Children under the age of 10 get in free.