The Hampton Classic opened its 34th annual competition Sunday with more than 7,000 spectators arriving at the show rings in Bridgehampton along with hundreds of others who had special reasons for being there:
It wasn't the job he was looking for when he earned his business degree, but it was a job - and after all, he said, "I like horses."
Kate Boone, who had come down from Rhode Island, was there to sell customized tack trunks and footlockers, horse blankets and other riding equipment, each designed to match the colors of the riding school, or barn, so that all the riders on a whole team will look alike. A custom-designed tack trunk can cost from $1,200 to $2,200, she said.
Olivia Ashley Reed, 17, who lives in Freeport and summers at her grandparents' house in Sag Harbor, was one of five people who came to sing a cappella in a contest to decide who would get to perform the national anthem at the grand opening ceremonies.
Robin Foster of Sagaponack was there to promote her sport, Combined Driving. Her 12-year-old Morgan gelding, Rabbit, works out with a local riding club, but in combined driving he pulls her in a carriage.
As Foster started off the Opening Day ceremonies, she seemed to float through the obstacle course with Rabbit smoothly pulling her around.
The Classic will feature a series of hunter and jumper competitions through Aug. 30, when it ends with a $250,000 championship and World Cup qualifying event.
The Classic has marked the end of the summer season in the Hamptons for 34 years. This year it started a week early to avoid a conflict with another sanctioned show.
Monday, the only day the $20-per-car admission fee is not charged, the Classic will host the finals of the Long Island Horse Show for Riders with Disabilities, and the ASPCA will hold two animal behavior clinics.