Following the overwhelmingly positive response to our 2010 Top 25 report, NARG’s host of volunteers once again invested hundreds of hours to numerically evaluate 50 of the top horse shows in North America. The 2011 results are an interesting mix of events – including a couple of Canadian champions, a promising new beginning for The National Horse Show, several new discoveries and two most improved shows.

Canada claimed the top two spots this year. The highest marks once again go to Spruce Meadows, a venue that continues to exemplify our aspirations for great sport in North America. The number two title this year goes to a Canadian discovery, Thunderbird Show Park. Both venues are tremendous places to compete and show jumpers should seriously consider adding these solid examples of top tournaments to their summer schedule.

Relocated to Lexington, the Alltech National Horse Show earned a top ranking this year. With the promise of recreating what once was, this indoor event could again bring brilliance back to the fall circuit.

Two of our nation’s most treasured traditional events rank in the top five this year, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair and The Hampton Classic. These shows have stood the test of time and continue to offer an outstanding experience for both the exhibitors and the spectators. By making big strides towards footing improvements, Devon also earned one of two NARG’s ‘Most Improved’ Awards this year. In 2011 Devon’s score improved by 6% and their ranking jumped five spots.

The second event to earn the NARG ‘Most Improved’ in 2011 is Old Salem Farm’s May series. Often plagued by wet weather, Old Salem’s new large sand arena ably handles the classes that the grass field cannot. Dedicated to becoming a premiere event, Old Salem’s score improved by 7% and their ranking also jumped three spots.

NARG acknowledges the effort required to produce a world-class equestrian competition. We value the open-mindedness with which horse show managers have considered our evaluations. These top managements are working hard to offer superb competition by putting sport first. As we continue to rank the Top 25 Shows each year, NARG feels confident that the quality of competitions as well as the number of top ranked international riders will increase as top horse shows continue to develop into world class events.

The Top 25 Of 2011
The top SIX shows scored 80% or higher. To make the Top 25, a show had to score 69%, eight per cent higher than 2010. Average score 76%.