The Aiken Horse Show - Since 1916

How to Watch the Horse Show

The 2020 Aiken Horse Show lasts three days and includes 55 classes for children and adults. Classes start at 9 a.m. and the show day is usually over between 4 and 5 p.m. depending on the number of exhibitors. Each Day at the show has its own character.

Opening Day, Friday, attracts some of the most polished performances of the weekend. The day starts with the $750 Aiken Hounds Welcome Stakes and ends with the $1,000 Aiken Horse Show Open Handy Hunter Stakes. During the day, the Open Hunter and Amateur divisions bring in accomplished competitors from around the region. Because there are only eight classes on this day, expect the action to be over rather early in the afternoon.

Saturday is family Day. First up is the Children’s Walk Trot division open to children 12 and under. Next comes the Walk-Trot- Canter, followed by Open Pleasure, Pairs, and then two divisions for young horses. Leadline, featuring the smallest and youngest children begins around noon. The ever-popular Costume Class comes soon afterward: there is always something inventive and interesting to see here. Saturday is also the day for Family Class, a Therapeutic Ricing class and the Junior Hunter division. The most prestigious class of the day is the last one, the $500 Aiken Horse Show Junior Handy Stakes.

Sunday is Foxhunter day, tailored to active Foxhunting riders and their horses. For many of the exhibitors on Sunday, their sport is riding to hounds rather than showing, and this may be the only time all year they enter a show ring. This day also includes popular classes such as the Gentleman’s Hunter Under Saddle Challenge and the $250 Aiken Driving Club Silver Fox Challenge, for senior riders. Don’t the sidesaddle division Sunday afternoon: Aiken has an active population of sidesaddle riders, and their division includes a formal under saddle class, as well as an over fences class.

The Foxhunter Division, also on Sunday afternoon is possibly the most hotly contested of the show. This division is open to horses and riders that have hunted at least three times together during the season. Not only does this division offer attractive prize money, it also has a special distinction. Everyone is always eager to see who will be crowned Foxhunter Champion, earning the right to be featured on the cover of next year’s Aiken Hors Show program.