Approximately 1,600 horses will arrive in Bridgehampton tomorrow for the Hampton Classic Horse Show, one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the country. The competition will begin on Sunday; the horses are making their entrance a day earlier than usual this year to help ease the chaos on Saturday, according to Shanette Barth Cohen, the show’s executive director. The eight-day event, which is in its third decade, will end on Sept. 1.
One new addition is a Longines $30,000 Rider Challenge. The riders in the running can be identified by armbands with the watchmaker’s logo in navy blue and white. Standings can be accessed via Twitter during the week.
The Classic has a new Web site this year, too, with a down-to-the-second countdown to opening day. The action can also be followed by way of Instagram and Facebook.
The 40,000 to 50,000 people Cohen expects to attend will find the Grand Prix tent “especially shiny this year,” she said. Enhancements to the showground’s infrastructure include a new wooden will-call shed and information booth.
General admission costs $10 per person or $20 a carload. Open seating is available in the bleachers and grandstands, except for Grand Prix Sunday on Sept. 1, when reservations are required for the grandstands. The cost is $25 for bench seating and $35 for a bucket seat to view the $250,000 FTI Consulting Grand Prix and FEI World Cup qualifier.
Senior citizens can watch with no admission charge from Tuesday through next Thursday, and a free pass will be granted to those of all ages who provide six or more nonperishable food items for the Sag Harbor Food Pantry on Tuesday and Wednesday. The idea was that of Kate Soroka, a staff member who thought it would make sense for summer renters who didn’t consume all that was stocked in their cupboards. Last year it led to a nice collection of food, she said. Donations will also be accepted daily throughout the show.
Monday will be A.S.P.C.A. adoption day, with at-risk horses, dogs, cats, and pigs on site in hopes of finding permanent homes. Kids Day on Saturday offers activities for the little ones, including pony rides, face painting, performances, workshops, crafts, and rescued animals and birds of prey for viewing.
Cohen is hoping for weather as “amazing” as last year’s, while modifying her request to include a little cloud cover to reduce the numbers who might opt for a beach day, she joked.
At present, Cohen and her “great team” are busy organizing banners, tents, tables, bleachers, and a V.I.P. section.
Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office at 240 Snake Hollow Road or online at hamptonclassic.com.