Grand Tradition Returns to Charleston—Homecoming of Summer Classics
RELEASE: August 25, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Robbi Meisel
The Charleston Summer Horse Show Classics are returning July 8-18 of 2009 after nearly a decade absence.
Bob Bell, Chairman of the summer classic, recently announced the big news to thunderous applause during a meeting with professional trainers, course designers and judges who fondly remember the original series. “I started the Charleston Summer Classics at the Seabrook Island Equestrian Center in July of 1992, but unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the show outgrew the facility after seven years and moved to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC,” said Bell as he explained some of the event’s history. “The show then moved to Conyers, GA, home of the Georgia International Horse Park and site of the 1996 Olympics, but for years I’ve had this longing to return to Charleston...to our roots.”
The Mullet Hall Equestrian Center [River Road] on Johns Island will be the new home for the event. This venue was built during the Summer Classic’s time in Asheville. Bell kept a close eye on the new facility’s progress over the years, often stopping by to “visit” when he was in the neighborhood. Taking note of the well-done rings, good footing, and nice stalls Bell realized this was a perfect location for an old idea he’d been toying with. “This show will be going back to the traditional hunter/jumper events,” Bell said and added, “Maybe I’m feeling nostalgic, but for the past few years I’ve had this desire to step back to the time when horse showing was truly an event for the entire family with all the traditions that made showing special.”
Silver trophies and ringside picnics are but a couple of Bell’s favorite memories to bring back. The two-week event will be recognized by the United States Equestrian Federation [USEF] with it’s top AA rating. Competitors on the hunt for points will be pleased to know Charleston will have an abundance to offer. “We’ll have many of the same hunter classes exhibitors find at most classic shows. We’ll also offer some jumper classes such as children-adults and junior-amateur owners,” Bell said.
“As they say in real estate...location, location, location,” quipped Bell about the return to the Charleston area. “Some of the best beaches are barely six miles from the show grounds. What a great family vacation this will be.” Along with top resorts such as the five star Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, there are a vast variety of condos available for a single night or a week’s vacation and countless dining experiences to be discovered. “This is a true destination spot offering something for everyone. From the rich history to worldclass golf to gulf stream fishing to genuine Southern hospitality,” Bell added with a gush. “Oh and we’re having a horse, show too.”
Not just any horse show though...Bell has dubbed this a “boutique” show. Asked for a definition he obliged with a big smile, “Boutique—[boo-teek] If I were writing the dictionary it would say; a smaller horse show that is fashionable and unique. Always held at wonderful destinations with excellent accommodations for special horses, owners, and riders. Always involves parties, special classes, and fun events. Always has excellent trophies and rewards for grand champions.”
He shared some of the unique fun in store for exhibitors and spectators. “Of course we’ll have the Grand Kahuna Pony Mania and the Junior Poobah classes, both have become so wildly popular—besides being a lot of fun they’re a great prep for the USEF Pony Finals each August. We’ll also have the Horseless Horse Show and the Stick Horse Competition, which always draws great laughs,” he continued. “And I want to add some specialties for the adults like Mimosa Sundays and theme parties.”
The Charleston Summer Classics will play host to the 18th Annual Unbridled Affair, a party that has become legendary for it’s unique themes, such as the Black and White Ball, Pajama Party, and Kentu