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Del Mar National horse show saddles up in April

DEL MAR — The three-week Del Mar National, happening April 17 to May 6, showcases equestrian events that includes the distinct disciplines of Western, Dressage and Hunter/Jumper in world-class competitions.

Now in its 73rd year, nearly 1,500 horse and rider teams will compete to win $300,000 in cash and prizes. This is one of the few remaining horse shows offering multiple traveling perpetual trophies and individual class trophies and ribbons.

The Del Mar National Horse Show is produced by the 22nd District Agricultural Association, a State of California agency which owns and operates the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

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Much of the Del Mar National Horse Show is free for spectators. The featured Saturday evening events require a paid admission, and tickets are now available for both reserved seating and gourmet dinner VIP boxes online at Entry materials and complete prize lists for competitors are also available now online.

Each week of the Del Mar National represents a distinct discipline: Western (April 17-21), Dressage (April 26-29) and Hunter/Jumper (May 1-6). Nearly 1,500 horses from various countries will compete in the three-week show for more than $300,000 in cash and prizes.

Weekly highlights include:

— Western Week shows off traditional Western riding techniques such as trail skills and reining during Western Week. New this year is “Ranch Day” on April 17, featuring ranch riding and the Highpoint Horse Award. “Night of the Horse,” presented by Mary’s Tack & Feed at 7 p.m. April 21 is filled with daring feats during a musical equestrian theatrical performance.

— Dressage Week brings the CDI-W International Dressage Competition and classes for amateurs and juniors. Top horse and rider combinations vie for prize money, United States Equestrian Federation national qualifying recognition and International Federation for Equestrian Sports’ world ranking. “The Evening of Musical Freestyles” at 7 p.m. April 28, is Dressage Week’s highlight event, set to music. Olympic and world champion horse and rider pairs offer a World Cup qualifying event, showcasing a presentation of strength and elegance between the rider and horse.

— Hunter/Jumper Week offers a breadth of classes for both disciplines, including the North American Junior Young Rider Championship Selection Trial, allowing top young riders to test their skills against other top juniors. The $25,000 Surfside Grand Prix presented by Competitive Equestrian at 1:45 p.m. May 4 is the competition for the chance to ride in the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar at 6:45 p.m. May 5.