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Lauren Hough Set To Defend Her Title At National Horse Show

Can She Three-Peat?

WELLINGTON, FL – November 19, 2003 – Lauren Hough is the first rider in the 120-year history of The National Horse Show to attempt to win the National Horse Show Jumper Championship three times in a row. The 26-year-old Californian, now based in Wellington, Florida, holds the distinction of being the last rider to win the title at Madison Square Garden when the show was held there for the final time in 2001. She successfully defended her title in 2002 at the show’s new home in Wellington, Florida. This year’s $100,000 National Horse Show Jumper Championship CSI-W presented by Lexus will be held on Friday, November 28, starting at 7pm in the Internationale Arena at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. Hough, a member of the US team at the 2000 Olympic Games and a member of the US Gold Medal team at the 2003 Pan American Games, is looking forward to the possibility of adding The National ‘three-peat’ to her list of achievements. “Certainly it would be a great thing to accomplish three times,” Hough said. “You need a lot of luck to make that happen, but it would be a great honor and we’re certainly going to give it our best.”

The 120TH National Horse Show is scheduled for November 26-30, 2003, at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club show grounds in Wellington, Florida. Stadium Jumping Inc., the company that produces the Winter Equestrian Festival at this venue, is producing The National here for the second consecutive year.

Hough’s mount for the National Horse Show Jumper Championship in 2001 was Windy City; in 2002 she rode her Sydney Olympic mount Clasiko. She will again ride Clasiko in the 2003 Championship. “Clasiko really likes that field and he’s in very good form right now,” explained Hough. Clasiko is a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by The Clasiko Group, a large syndicate of Californians in which Hough has a share. Winning the Championship last year was Clasiko’s first and only Grand Prix victory. Since then, Hough and her horses have been globetrotting, producing consistent results at top-rated events: Clasiko placed second, third, and fifth in Grand Prix classes at the 2003 Winter Equestrian Festival, and was sixth in the $127,210 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows in Canada; Windy City competed in the Nations Cup in Aachen, Germany, where the US team tied for third; Cinoa placed second at the $50,000 New Albany Classic Grand Prix in Ohio. But no wins. Perhaps the Internationale Arena is Clasiko’s lucky place? “Exactly,” confirms Hough.

Comparing the pressure to win the National Horse Show Jumper Championship with that of competing in the Olympics and Pan Am Games, Hough said, “I’ve always done well under pressure, but in a confident way. Do I feel confident that I can win on Friday? It has to be your lucky day, but I feel confident that my horse is in very good form and we’ve had good results this year so we’re certainly going to give it a shot.”

Hough is riding in The National Horse Show specifically to defend her title and will only be competing in two classes – the $25,000 Palm Beach Post National Welcome Qualifying Stake CSI on Wednesday, November 26, and then the $100,000 National Horse Show Jumper Championship on Friday, November 28. She will be coaching several students competing in the show during the week. A new class, the $100,000 Chesapeake Petroleum AGA Championship CSI, has been added this year on Sunday, November 30, but Hough has not decided whether or not she’ll compete. “If he performs well on Friday I might just call it a year.”

The hat trick win would be a fitting finale for 2003, as the next goal for Hough and Clasiko is a trip to the 2004 Athens Olympics. “Certainly if Clasiko stays in the form that he is in, I’d like to give it one more shot. I think he’s certainly capable of that,” she states, adding, “You have to have a very talented horse to jump big jumps like that and a lot of luck on your side, so I hope it all goes my way again.”

Are there any competitors Hough is particularly on the lookout for? “Anybody. Everybody,” she laughs. “Anyone that’s showing at that level is very talented and has fantastic horses. I could name 10 people. It takes a lot to get to the place that we’re all at so I have the utmost respect for everyone that’s competing at that level and I treat them as threats. I see anyone as tough to beat.”

Hough was always a big fan of the show at Madison Square Garden, but was impressed with last year’s National at its new Wellington home. “I hope they have as much success running the show as they did last year. I was a big skeptic and I thought that they put on a really, really great event. I’m looking forward to it being as good as last year.”


Children age 12 and under are always free. General admission seating for adults, Wednesday through Saturday (on Friday, there will be separate day and evening tickets), will be $10/each, with Sunday priced at $15/each; children over the age of 12 and seniors (65 and older) will be $7/each. Diamond Horse Shoe Club and box seating information and reservations can be obtained by calling (800) 237-8924 or the Special Events office at (561) 753-3389.



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Updated: October 2005.