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Harnessing Tradition, Riding into the Future: Equine Sports Council to Govern World's Championship Horse Show

Published: February 22, 2024 Updated: March 5, 2024

The World’s Championship Horse Show (WCHS) announced today that the Equine Sports Council (ESC) has been selected as the governing body ahead of the 2024 event. In February, the Kentucky State Fair Board unanimously approved the change, recognizing the importance of operating with Saddlebred-competition-tailored rules and standards emphasizing integrity, sportsmanship, and safety for the non-Olympic horse industry. Qualifying requirements for WCHS remain unchanged.

Numerous additional levels of protection come with ESC governance, including:

  • Drug testing will adhere to international guidelines and penalty standards, offering ISO-certified drug labs. All blood samples will be collected by a licensed veterinarian. Performance enhancement drugs are strictly prohibited, and ESC ensures the correct administration of therapeutic medications. ESC and WCHS will ensure state and regulatory compliance and maintain a high level of integrity throughout.
  • Judges will be offered a $6 million officials liability insurance policy, good for 12 months.

ESC offers clear rules and standards. Class standards and judging criteria used inside the ring remain the same.

“As we embark on this new path with the Equine Sports Council as the governing body for the World's Championship Horse Show, our shared focus and effort is on elevating the integrity and prestige of this unmatched event. This partnership enables show management to operate with more specific guidance tailored to the needs of our Saddlebred industry, ensuring the continued safety, growth, and excellence of our sport,” said David S. Beck, President & CEO of Kentucky Venues.

About Equine Sports Council (ESC): Equine Sports Council partners with and governs Non-Olympic horse competitions from the Academy level to National Championship shows. ESC, a non-member, not-for-profit organization, has provided governance to over 13,000 exhibitors, and our network fees have allowed us to donate over $30,000 to the Saddlebred, Morgan, and Hackney show horse industries.  The shows in the ESC Network this year will earn an estimated $20,000 in marketing grants and industry re-investments. Learn more at: https://equinesportscouncil.org/