By David Rogers. July 14, 2020. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Ninety-seven (97) years and counting, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show refuses to fall victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News, from previous Hunter-Jumper shows.
While COVID-19 has shut down, delayed or at least challenged the staging of many special events this year — nationwide — Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation confirmed on Tuesday that it is bucking the trend. A full schedule of Hunter and Jumper classes will be run over a two-week period beginning July 21st. The major compromise: no spectators other than Horse Show staff and other exhibitors.
“The Foundation has completed a WHO risk assessment to measure the effects of our COVID-19 planning efforts,” reported community relations director Maurice Ewing in a press release distributed to various media outlets and town government and business leaders. “By adhering to the plan, it has been determined we will be operating at a low level of risk. To assure the safety of our staff and exhibitors, there are masking requirements, social distancing restrictions, box seats limitations, and other mandatory restrictions. Rain sheltering is also being carefully orchestrated.
“In addition,” Ewing added, “the famed daily exhibitor hospitality, a hallmark of this annual event, will not be available this year. Nevertheless, an extraordinary effort is being made by the sponsoring horse show foundation to accommodate exhibitors and assure the best possible two weeks of competition possible under these extraordinary conditions.”
Traditionally, the Hunter-Jumper series has brought more than 500 horses to exhibit and compete in the Blowing Rock event. Unlike the many other shows that have been cancelled this summer, the Blowing Rock event should provide a welcome boost to area businesses, from restaurants, bars, and lodging establishments to vacation rentals and retail shops, all of which have seen severe declines in business since the economic shutdown began in late March.
Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is promoted as the longest, continuously-running equestrian event in the United States.