This May brings the Open Horse Show Association’s Inaugural Virtual World Open Horse Show! This unprecedented event brings competitors from across the US and Canada together virtually to compete for awards and the title of “World Champion!”
OHSA was founded in 2012 with the motto “. . . show locally . . . achieve nationally.” And since then, every year, the awards program has increased. From a few thousand dollars in 2012 to over $25,000 in awards in 2020. Prizes include saddles to the overall annual high point winner to buckles ribbons, trophies, reins, saddle pads, bridles, halters, grooming tools, and much more. These prizes are awarded based on points earned under OHSA by showing at local open, schooling, and 4-H shows.
When COVID hit the country in 2020 OHSA had to decide their path forward with the cancellation of nearly all open horse shows for most of the year. They decided that hosting their own virtual shows would allow members to continue to show and earn points so their awards program would continue. They also realized many other venues also began hosting virtual shows. OHSA recognizes those shows and members were able to continue showing, and growing, all year.
Since OHSA’s inception nearly 10 years ago the idea of hosting a national or world show has been considered. But many people showing at open shows are unable to commit the time or money needed to show at a national show venue, which would most likely be far from their homes.
If anything positive came from 2020 it was that OHSA realized virtual shows could work. They soon began preparing for a virtual world show. OHSA partnered with The Most Wanted Custom Silver to design custom buckles, awarded to all classes with 10 or more entries. There are prizes for all class winners and placings down to 6th place.
“We are so excited to host the OHSA Inaugural Virtual World Open Horse Show. 2020 showed us that all things are possible, and sometimes changing your course isn’t a bad thing. Although very few members earned points at live horse shows in 2020 (thankfully that is changing now) we learned how to host a virtual show, our members learned a lot about taking videos on their phones, and that bloopers can be hilarious! It’s ok to laugh at ourselves,” says Debbie Dunn, OHSA’s Founder.
Although it seems that many areas are starting to get back to a form of a new normal, Dunn believes virtual shows are here to stay. Many people seem to enjoy them as something they can do from home with minimal assistance. Showing at their leisure yet still competing against their peers. OHSA is also planning a 4 month series for the summer as a dress down circuit, having relaxed attire requirements. All of OHSA’s virtual shows pay jackpot money back to entrants with circuit awards.
For more information on OHSA and their programs please visit www.showohsa.com or call 321-863-0456.