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It's the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and the venue of the next leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping series; a real intersection of equestrian action, luxury lifestyles and laid-back Southern California beach culture.
Now, this probably isn't the best place to tell you about if you think that horse sports are, well a bit “elitest” and only for those with a few hundred grand tucked away to fritter away on new fillies.
It’s true, there is an element of wealth in some parts of the world when it comes to our horsey pals, and Del Mar is certainly one of them. It’s unashamedly beautiful though, and well worth the experience if you can make it to the show.
Right on the doorstep you have endless stretches of San Diego’s best beaches. A few miles to the east is Rancho Sante Fe, home to some of the world’s ritziest real estate - with and without equestrian accommodations!
Got an extra $7.7 million? A seven-acre property with “stunning remodeled home, pastures, jumping arena and a great barn” can be yours. Yes please.
Yes, you read that right.
Agility dogs and their handlers pair with a grand prix jumper and rider to run their respective courses while raising funds and crowd craziness on behalf of various charities.
Last year, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Will Simpson and fellow crowd favorite Richard Spooner went flat-out in the Woof Cup, then jumped on their grand prix horses to warm-up and return to the ring just a few minutes later to tackle a route of Olympic-scale obstacles.
It has to be seen to be believed…
As always, the West Coast will have a strong contingent, including Simpson, Spooner and the winners of the Longines FEI World Cup™ North American League in Langley and Sacramento, Karl Cook and Audrey Coulter.
Because the quality and stakes in the league have risen with Longines’ partnership, the locals face increasingly stiff competition from the East, including Georgina Bloomberg, Ray Texel and Jack Towell, as well as contenders from around the world.
Whoever wins, there’s no doubt there will be spectacular sport - from both horses and dogs, apparently - and an exhilarating evening for sports fans.
• Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar is right around the corner from the Fairgrounds. Famous for fish tacos and fish & chips and has views of the whole Fairgrounds and lagoon. (3263 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014)
• Market Restaurant & Bar. Fresh and locally-grown are the menu watchwords at this casual, comfortable restaurant. “The food is amazing,” assures West Palms Events Danielle Ballard. (3702 Via de la Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014)
• Karl Cook’s go-to spot is the Encinitas Ale House. “They have an unbelievable beer selection and this is my favorite place to go.” (1044 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024)
Find out more at www.feiworldcup.org
Text by Kim F. Miller and Paul Stretton/FEI
Images by Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Amy K. Dragoo, Lucio Landa & Eric Gilmore