Annual horse show reins in thousands of visitors to Northern Michigan
Celebrating it's return for the 10th year in a row, and recently being named one of the top 25 shows in America by the North American Riders Group, Horse Shows by the Bay is now bigger than ever before.
"For a show as young as we are to be here now in our 10th anniversary at the size and the level that we are with the amount of prestige that comes along with it, it's certainly super super successful in our industry," said Horse Shows by the Bay owner and organizer, Alex Rheinheimer.
For five weeks, thousands of the country's best horses and their riders will compete in the equestrian festival while testing their skills at the obstacles and being judged on their style, movement, and smooth riding capabilities.
The AA rated horse show features riders both young and old from 35 states.
"We also have riders coming from Canada, we have a few international riders here as well, and we have five Olympians on property," said Rheinheimer. "So to say that we're representing the best of the best is an understatement."
It's an event that brings in more than $15-million each year to the local economy. But Horse Shows by the Bay is not only impacting Grand Traverse County.
"As they're getting more acquainted with the area, people are starting to discover outside of the general Traverse City area," said Rheinheimer. "There's the Torch Lake sand bar, there's the Sleeping Bear Dunes, they're going up to Mackinac Island, they're visiting Harbor Springs and Petoskey. So we're really now putting Northern Michigan on the map."
Riders like Missy Luczak-Smith from Charlotte North Carolina, say that it's not just the beautiful location of the show that will keep her coming back.
"Everybody here is super nice and so accommodating," said Luczak-Smith. "It's top notch. It really is one of the nicest horse shows and well run horse shows that we got to all year and we show all over the place."
Organizers say that the next successful decade will include some charity involvement, and some mainstream media of the show so that everyone can get in on the action.
"And we're really looking to educate the local community on what it is that makes equestrian sport so unique and so special," said Rheinheimer.
In order to make sure that no one is left out this year, event organizers are providing a live digital stream of the Grand Prix Ring on their website. For more information on weekly events click here. For the live stream, click here.