The Event Ensures A Memorable, Affordable Equestrian Experience For Spectators Of All Ages
By Mary Jones and Laura Pennino
Are you ready for an experience close to home that is extremely affordable and memorable? Then make your way to the 72nd Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, March 22 through April 2 at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center located at 2501 South Mason Road in Katy. Most events are free and open to the public. Picnic baskets and ice chests are welcome, but please keep the glass containers and pets at home.
PJP Farm of Magnolia is the presenting sponsor for Week 1 of this horse show. Irish Day Farm of Houston is the presenting sponsor for Week 2. Each of these reputable stables is led by accomplished, award-winning equestrians who inspire children and adults to learn to ride and to compete in local, regional and national horse shows.
While Texas boasts of all things horse, The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is not anything like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – no barrel racing, no bucking broncs, no steer wrestling or Mutton Bustin’. It is not like the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes. No horses breaking out of the starting gate and crossing the finish line. It is not like Palm Beach Polo. No mallets, no chukkers, and no goals to make.
Whether it is horse and rider teams soaring over impossibly high jumps or performing precision gaited maneuvers, what first time Pin Oak spectators will experience is closer to the type of events featured in the Olympics. On the Saturday nights of Pin Oak, expect to see accomplished male and female riders from their teens to 60s – donned in tailored jackets, white breeches, boots and helmets guiding their well-trained mounts (which weigh about 1,500 pounds) as they skillfully and gracefully navigate a course of fences as high as five feet. Riders and horses are scored based on both their time for completing the course and the accuracy with which they complete it. Points are lost when show teams knock down a rail or exceed the time allowed. The victorious pair is the one that completes the course the fastest with the least mistakes, making for an “edge of your seat” experience for all!
Saddlebreds, which were the horses of choice for both General Ulysses S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War in the 1860s, also play a major role at The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show. Saddlebred competition showcases horses and riders moving through walk, trot and canter gaits and accomplished drivers directing their horses harnessed to sulkies around the ring, with judges in the center of the arena closely observing their skills and recording their scores.
The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious charity horse shows in the United States. Founded in 1945 and originally located close to what is now the Houston Galleria area, The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is an all-breed horse show, which means that American Saddlebreds, hunters, jumpers, and ponies are eligible to compete. School and religious groups, businesses, individuals and families are invited to come to The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show any time between March 22 and April 2 to see athletes, both human and equine, competing for ribbons and other prizes. Rain or shine, competition continues.
With a legacy of giving that is approaching $7 million in donations to Texas Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Houston Family Rooms at Texas Children’s Hospital, and Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance, Pin Oak has left its “hoofprint” on the Texas Medical Center and beyond. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show provided the first donation to the planning and building of Texas Children’s Hospital in 1947. In recent years, Pin Oak has given $1.25 million to the West Campus of Texas Children’s Hospital in support of the Cancer Center, Child Life and Sports Medicine including sponsorship of the Pediatric Sports Medicine Fellow at Texas Children’s Hospital. In keeping with growing its giving as the hospital expands, the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show has made a financial commitment of $100,000 to The Woodlands Campus of Texas Children’s Hospital, which is slated to be fully open in April 2017.
The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show attracts 1,200 high-stepping and high-flying horses each week and approximately 2,000 exhibitors from around the country including riders from Mexico and Canada. Rain or shine, the show goes on with many of the competitive events taking place in covered arenas. Most of the events during this two-week horse show are free and open to the public. General admission tickets are available ($10 for adults and free for children 12 and under) for the exciting Grand Prix competitions on Saturdays, March 25 and April 1, and for the prestigious International Hunter Derby on Friday, March 31.
For those spectators who prefer not to bring their own foods and beverages, refreshments will be available for purchase from concession stands and food trucks.
Family Nights At The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show
New this year are Family Nights at The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, which will be hosted from 4-9 p.m. on Saturdays, March 25 and April 1. With the purchase of an adult general admission ticket for $10 per person, children 12 and under will be admitted free on Family Nights. Children and their adult chaperones will have access to a wide range of complimentary treats, gifts and activities that include popcorn and cotton candy; Pin Oak coloring books, crayons and toy ponies; face painting; visits with Shetland therapy ponies and miniature horses; and taking candid photos with a Pin Oak ambassador and the Easter Bunny.
The Pin Oak Club welcomes new members who want to be part of Pin Oak’s historic giving to help sick children – no horse required! The Pin Oak Club offers many social and sporting events throughout each year, with the Sporting Clays Classic (April 24 this year) and the What to Wear to That Equestrian Affaire fashion presentation and luncheon being the two signature Pin Oak Club events each year. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show also welcomes volunteers, individual and corporate sponsors, in-kind product and service providers, and contributions in any amount.
For additional information or to learn more about becoming part of The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show tradition, visit pinoak.org, follow Pin Oak on social media, or call 713-621-6290.
Katy/Fulshear Lifestyles & Homes is a long-time supporter of The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show and The Pin Oak Club.
Category: People & Places in KATY