Show jumper Ali Nilforushan has purchased the Los Angeles National Horse Show and National Preview horse shows (Calif.) from Langer Equestrian Group, effective as of June 10.
The shows, held in early November at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, are host to multiple top hunter/jumper events and championships, most notably the $50,000 LEGIS Grand Prix of Los Angeles CSI-W. Langer Equestrian Group developed the events in the early 1980s and have owned and operated both since. When Nilforushan came to them with his offer, the Langers were hesitant to sell their flagship shows, but felt that it was the right business decision.
“It kind of feels like sending your kid off to college!” said Marnye Langer. “You’ve done this good job of creating something really special; you’ve gotten your kid educated and socialized, and now he’s been accepted by a college. It’s kind of bittersweet to step back, but you get to watch things go to the next level.”
And Nilforushan’s plans for the shows include expanding the jumper programs and bringing in new sponsors. Nilforushan hopes to attract top competitors and achieve the events’ full potential. Nilforushan was born in Iran and moved to the U.S. at the age of 12. Since then, he has established himself as an equestrian professional living and operating out of San Diego. He competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games as Iran’s first and sole equestrian competitor. When he isn’t managing his 35-horse business, Nilforushan, 39, is always looking for entrepreneurial opportunities. In 2003 he purchased the concert venue 4th & B in San Diego.
But the rider feels a special and unique connection with L.A. National, where he won his first major grand prix at the beginning of his riding career, and with Larry Langer, who he has known and admired for years.
“[Nilforushan] has been lovely to work with. He came to us years ago and said, ‘I really admire what you guys have done, and I think you have two amazing shows,’” said Marnye. “So I know he really wants to make the shows even more special. What we had were two really nice horse shows, and I think what he wants to do is turn them into two very special events.”
Langer Equestrian Group will continue to help Nilforushan manage the shows this year and assist him in a consulting capacity in the future.
“We’re right there to answer some of his questions and help him avoid some pitfalls but let him make the decisions he needs to make and support and encourage and cheer him on,” said Marnye.