1) The Breeders' Cup
While some want to go to the Derby or the Preakness or any of the Triple Crown Races, I'd much prefer to go the Breeders' Cup. In one or two days you're able to see the top race horses in the world in one location. Next year the races return to the East Coast, to Churchill Downs, and I'm planning to make the trip. This year the races will be in Del Mar.
The top jumper riders all talk about Aachen and I'd just like to see it. I'll probably be disappointed but it's a good excuse to make the trip to Germany in June one year.
The three tracks people tell me I must visit are Keeneland, Saratoga and Del Mar. Now that I've been to Keeneland, I understand. Del Mar is the venue for this year's Breeder's Cup Races in November. If you happen to live on the West Coast, make the trip. I'm planning a trip to Southern California again at some point and this time I'll go to the races for sure.
4) Del Mar
Del Mar, enough said.
5) Spruce Meadows
My trips to Alberta (and there have been many) have all been in winter so I haven't had the pleasure of going to Spruce Meadows yet. But it's on the list. The venue is near Calgary which isn't easy to get to but there are direct flights from Houston, Denver and Chicago. The Canadian dollar is very good right now against the American dollar so it's an economical trip too. Put this on your calendar to go in June. The very best show jumpers in the world make the trip for the huge money classes.
I made two trips to Keeneland last year. The place is magical and I can't wait to go again very soon.
My big regret is that I didn't see Secretariat when he was alive. We went to Winstar last fall and we have reservations for Coolmore in April. Hoping to see American Pharoah then and I want to see Tapit too at some point. It's really great to see these horses up close if you can and it's not expensive, you just have to plan in advance.
(Pioneer of the Nile at Winstar)
8) The Upperville Horse Show
There's simply nothing like the Upperville Horse Show anywhere. If you've never been and you love the hunters, this is a MUST see. The show is a week long and it always starts the first Monday in June. It usually rains at least one day and there are no hotels near Upperville that you will be able to afford so stay in Leesburg, VA or Winchester, VA. It's unlike anything. The first time I jogged my horse into the ring for ribbons, I almost cried. I had dreamed about it since I was a little girl. A shopping bonanza not to mention you'll see the same horses here that you see in Palm Beach. The top trainers give their best horses to the top Amateurs and Juniors to ride so I always used to say that I was riding for a "fifth" meaning that even if I received an 88 (a really high score) at Upperville that was not even close enough for a top call. There is nothing like this.
What's on your list?