October 20, 2015

Horses Take Over the Nation’s Capital

I’ve seen some pretty amazing things at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.: basketball games, ice hockey matches, concerts, and even a monster truck show, but the most incredible thing to see in this arena is the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). This year’s show is October 20-25, and I am honored to serve as a member of the WIHS Junior Committee. Since last spring, the committee has helped work on the upcoming exciting events including Barn Night and Kid’s Day.


The things we do for love (of horses) – I will get to wear this stunning outfit sometime this week for WIHS
(photo from the
WIHS facebook page)

The first time I attended WIHS was a long time ago on Barn Night, and I had an awesome time watching the exciting events. My favorite was the Halloween-themed gambler’s choice class where all the riders dressed up in costumes, and many dressed up their horses as well! I’ve gone back to WIHS each year since then and have been lucky to meet world-class equestrians Reed Kessler, Charlie Jayne, and Mclain Ward. In my last blog post, I shared how Olympic show jumper Joe Fargis mentioned his experience as a young rider at WIHS and how attending the show contributed to his success as an equestrian. Watching the top riders then like Kathy Kusner, Bobby Burke, and Rodney Jenkins was an inspiration for those of Mr. Fargis’ generation, like he is an idol to many equestrians now. Watching the top riders compete at WIHS is an amazing opportunity in addition to everything else WIHS has to offer.

I’ll be at Barn Night on October 22, this time working behind the scenes and helping kids enjoy their evening, so look for me at the Breyer Stablemates Horse Painting Station! I’m also helping at Kids’ Day on Saturday when I will staff the TAPS information booth, where I will share information about the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the official U.S. Military partner of WIHS.

You see, WIHS is not just world-class show jumping and fun stuff for kids. According to its website:
“The Washington International Horse Show has enjoyed a close relationship with the United States military since the earliest days of the horse show when former U.S. Army horses and riders represented the United States in national and international competition. Thanks in part to the generous support of corporate and individual donors, we have been able to foster a strong and lasting connection between the equestrian community and the United States Armed Forces.”

Friday, October 23, is Military Night and riders in the International Jumper Speed Final will get the chance to “Jump for TAPS” with a donation going to TAPS each time the TAPS jump is cleared.


(photo from http://www.wihs.org/military-night/)

TAPS is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America's fallen military heroes, and TAPS has offered support to more than 50,000 surviving family members of our fallen military since 1994. It’s an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to support TAPS by helping in the TAPS booth on Kids Day at WIHS, and I hope to see many of you there!



My name is Holden Rafey, and I am honored to be serving as the Maryland Horse Council’s Youth Correspondent. As the MHC Youth Correspondent, I will be posting monthly to this blog about horse-related topics in the state of Maryland to give a youth perspective and share information on topics of interest to MHC youth members. I live in Montgomery County and attend Walter Johnson High School, where I play softball and field hockey. My equestrian trainer is Melinda Cohen, and I ride at her barn, Dream Catcher Farm, in Frederick County. In addition to being the Youth Correspondent for the MHC, I am also serving on the Washington International Horse Show Junior Committee and hope to see lots of Maryland barns represented at Barn Night!

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