A youngster feeds "Mini Cooper" during the 2016 Washington International Horse Show's "Kids Day" in downtown D.C. (Alden Corrigan/WIHS)
A youngster feeds "Mini Cooper" during the 2016 Washington International Horse Show's "Kids Day" in downtown D.C. (Alden Corrigan/WIHS)

The 60th annual Washington International Horse Show, one of North America’s most prestigious equestrian events, is returning to the District this month, with more than 500 of the world’s top horses and riders coming together for six days of competitions and exhibitions.

“We are honored to host such decorated riders from around the world at the 60th Anniversary Washington International Horse Show,” said event President Vicki Lowell, who emphasized that all events during the Oct. 23-28 show are family-friendly.

One of the highlighted events is “Breakfast with the Mounted Police” on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 8 a.m. in front of Hotel Monaco at 700 F Street NW, where mounted police units from across the region will be recognized.

A different way to usher in the spooky season will be “Halloween on Horseback” on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. Riders will be in costume with their painted horses. The Halloween observance is combined with “Barn Night,” when horse lovers come to Capital One Arena to cheer on their favorite riders.

Local barns, equestrian groups, teams and horse enthusiasts will participate in clinics coached by Steve Madden, one of the top equitation trainers in North America and head trainer at Beacon Hill Show Stables in Colts Neck, N.J.

“Every aspect of [the show] feels important and Barn Night is no different with the excitement from the local barns,” Madden said. “I love the experience of working with new people, seeing some grass-roots talent and meeting new horses.”

On Saturday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. is the “WHIS Free Kids Day.” Children participate in hands-on educational and fun activities including pony rides, a coloring station, face painting and pony brushing lessons. A pony-kissing booth will be set up with “Mini Cooper,” a miniature pony.

All outdoor activities will be held rain or shine in front of the Hotel Monaco at 700 F Street NW. Face painting and other events will be held on the Capital One Arena concourse.

For the full schedule of activities, go to www.WHIS.org. Discounts are available for groups, students, seniors and military for the paid events.

Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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