Two of California’s top shows are getting new names and locations this fall. The Los Angeles National Preview and the Los Angeles National Horse Show will change venues from the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, Calif., to the Desert Horse Park in Thermal, Calif. The two shows will be called the National Sunshine I and National Sunshine II, and they will be held on the same dates they were slated to run at the Burbank facility—Oct. 29-Nov. 2 and Nov. 4-9.
Previous owners of the shows and dates, Langer Equestrian, sold both competitions to grand prix show jumper Ali Nilforushan in June of this year. Nilforushan won his first grand prix at the LA National in 2003, and he has a vision of making the new Sunshine Nationals into world-class events.
“These events are flagship horse shows in California,” he said in a press release. “And HITS Desert Horse Park is the best facility on the West Coast.”
Nilforushan specifically referenced increased arena space and footing as reasons for moving the shows to the HITS Thermal facilities. The HITS facility also has more than 1,200 permanent stalls.
“Having more arenas will give us a chance to finish the day classes early and give people a break—let them have a little rest and relax and then come back for the evening classes,” Nilforushan said. “It’s a perfect time of year in the desert. All the pieces just fit.”
Pending Fédération Equestre Internationale sanctioning, Nilforushan is planning on hosting multiple FEI classes, including a $100,000 CSI-W grand prix.
“I want to add special classes, evening events, and give more riders opportunities to compete,” Nilforushan said in the press release. “Moving the shows to the Desert Horse Park will allow me to do that.”
Founder of the HITS horse show series Tom Struzzieri is welcoming the new competitions and Nilforushan’s plans. HITS hosts and manages the Desert Circuit in Thermal January through March.
“It’s always an honor to offer another FEI competition,” Struzzieri said. “We host national and international riders at the Desert Horse Park in Thermal every winter and look forward to showcasing the world’s best in the fall as well. It’s a perfect time of year in Southern California.
“These shows will be the best of both worlds,” he continued. “Combining panache, personal attention and world-class competition with outstanding facilities, crowd draw and sustained growth HITS’ horse shows have maintained over time.”