Horse Show of the Week: Thunderbird Summer Fort Festival

Horse Show of the Week: Thunderbird Summer Fort Festival

When I think of Vancouver, three things come to mind: the Winter Olympics, skiing, and the home base of Noëlle Floyd – the basics, right? But recently, I’ve added another item to my list: Thunderbird Show Park, also known as Tbird. Mere steps from the heart of Vancouver, Tbird attracts the who’s who of the show jumping and hunter worlds and is the host to six weeks of exciting internationally-recognized tournaments every year.

Currently ranked number two in North America as the best show jumping competition facility, Tbird is well on it’s way to taking over the number one spot as it attracts the big names in the new guard, such as Daniel Coyle, Eve Jobs, Ashlee Bond, and Karl Cook. The names are only going to get bigger as Tbird just held it’s first ever five-star competition this past June. (Congrats!)

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With its family-friendly events, free admission to tournaments, and top level competition, it’s no surprise that Tbird is becoming the 'it’ show Americans and Canadians alike flock to every summer.

Sounds like the cool place to be, eh?

1. The Luck of the Irish

Is there something in the water or is it just coincidence that the Irish riders are sweeping Tbird’s biggest events this year? Earlier this summer during the Odlum Brown BC Open held from May 29th to June 3rd, the Irish swept the two biggest events – the $400,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Nations Cup, as well as a win for Daniel Coyle in the $235,000 CSIO5* Longines Grand Prix. Not one to break a winning streak, Conor Swail followed suit to win the $100,000 CSI3* ATCO Cup during last weeks Summer Fort Classic. Whatever water they’re drinking, I want some.

2. World Cup Season Is Upon Us

Is it just me, or has the summer season flown by? It’s gone by so quickly that it’s already time to start thinking about the road to the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Finals in Göteborg, Sweden. Bananas. A highly coveted title, the finals attract riders from 52 countries competing in 16 different leagues to qualify for 45 spots – of those spots, only 15 will be from North America. No pressure. This weekend’s $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines World Cup Qualifier during Thunderbird’s Summer Fort Festival running from August 21st to 26th will be the kickoff event to the 10 month qualifying period. Let the games begin.

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3. Tbird. Knows a Good Time

Wine and horses are always a fun time, but when you add Olympic level show jumping and rosé to the equation, it’s going to be a party. Held during the Longines World Cup Qualifier, the View Winery Rosé party is an event everyone (over 21, please) looks forward to each year. Although tickets are already sold out to this popular event (sigh), Tbird is doing everything it can to expand the capacity. So whip out your best dress and add yourself to the waitlist here.

More information about Thunderbird Show Park can be found here.

Feature photo by Kathy Russell.