LAKE PLACID - One of the largest annual events in Lake Placid is about to get bigger as the horse shows expand their summer stay from two weeks to three, starting in 2014.
Beginning on July 8, 2014, the inaugural Adirondack Horse Show will add a third week of world-class competition after the existing Lake Placid Horse Show and I Love New York Horse Show schedule.
Over a period of 45 years, the horse shows have become one of the top events that bring money and visitors to the Adirondacks. The addition of a third competition is expected to help fill a short event void each July that ends later in the month when the Ironman people come to town.
A horse and rider compete in the 2013 Lake Placid Horse Show.
"This is excellent news," said Jim McKenna, president of the Lake Placid-Essex County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The horse shows are probably one of our signature events, and going three weeks can only be positive for us.
"Certainly, it's going to be an economic boost during what has traditionally been a slow week, according to the business owners," McKenna continued. "But more importantly, it will expose participants to a longer stay in the area. The new show is going to be called the Adirondack Horse Show, and we think that's fitting."
Chairman of the Lake Placid Horse Show Association Richard Feldman said competitors helped sow the seeds of expanding the horse shows, which he said already provide an annual economic boost to the region in the neighborhood of $10 million.
"Most of the people who have come to the show over the years have asked, 'Can we stay longer?'" Feldman told the News Friday. "A big reason for that is the cost. Instead of getting up and moving after two weeks, it would be cheaper to stay for another week. Besides, Lake Placid has one of the best facilities in the East. Why wouldn't you want to stay for a third week?
"From this point on, Lake Placid is now going to be the best three weeks of a horseman's summer," Feldman stated Friday in a news release.
The Lake Placid Horse Show began in 1970 as a one-week, one-ring horse show, and grew into a two-week event in 1978 with the addition of the I Love New York Horse Show. Typically, each show includes more than 150 classes and features around 1,200 horses competing, sometimes simultaneously in five rings. The new Adirondack Horse Show is expected to be the same size.
Another reason why participants have wished for a longer stay was the venue itself, which is in a scenic mountain setting and in a welcoming village, Feldman added.
"From my standpoint, the town has always been one of the most hospitable and supportive towns in the United States," he said. "And they have a show ground that is as competitive as any grounds in the United States. The ambiance, the food, the view, the people - it's tough to beat."
To have a third week of sanctioned competition, the Lake Placid Horse Show Association was required to get the go-ahead from the United States Equestrian Federation. Laurie Martin, director of the Lake Placid Horse Shows, said that permission was granted in a letter received on Oct. 23.
The 2014 event at the North Elba Show Grounds kicks off with the Lake Placid Horse Show from June 24-29. The I Love New York Horse Show will take place from July 1-6 and will be followed by the Adirondack Horse Show July 8-13. The third week will be highlighted by the inaugural Adirondack Grand Prix on July 12 that features $100,000 in prize money.