A time honored and philanthropic tradition returns to Zionsville

The Trader’s Point Hunt Charity Horse Show and Country Fair returns for the 36th year with pageantry and tradition to the 250 acres of sprawling countryside at Wild Air Farms in Zionsville. This nationally renowned event is organized by Mrs. Elizabeth W. Johnson, her family and the Trader’s Point Hunt Charity Horse Show Committee.

Photo by JJ Kaplan
Photo by JJ Kaplan

Located west of Zionsville’s historic downtown, visitors and spectators will find themselves entranced by the majesty of the grounds, the exhibition rings and annexes, and pagoda and Country Fair that make up Wild Air Farms. Originally part of the hunting grounds of the Traders Point Hunt Club (founded in 1932) the Show has become an annual favorite in the equestrian world.

Guests of the Show are delighted with a myriad of activities throughout the week leading up to the two Grand Prix events: the $35,000 Marty and Russell Fortune, Jr. Memorial Grand Prix, featuring world-class horses and riders on the evening of August 9; and the $75,000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis August 11 featuring an extraordinary afternoon of show jumping on one of the nation’s most challenging Grand Prix fields. Dignitaries, VIP sponsors and more than 8,000 spectators attend this day of great exhibition.

One of the unique elements that sets this Show apart from others is the philanthropic component that benefits Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Riley Hospital serves more than 230,000 patients annually and is ranked eleventh in the nation for it’s overall services, research and level of care, and fourth for neonatal care. The Show’s chairperson and founder, Mrs. Johnson, continues to advocate for the support of Riley Hospital and its growing pediatric research programs. “We are pleased to have Riley Hospital for Children as our charity for the seventh consecutive year,” Johnson stated. “Riley Hospital has been providing comprehensive care for children since opening in 1924. Riley Hospital is dedicated to the critical care needs of children, and treats patients from more than 200,000 Indiana families and from every country every year.”

The Johnson’s hospitality and Show Committee’s dedication to the quality of the amenities that are offered to the exhibitors and their parties is equally as legendary as their philanthropic efforts. The exhibitors of the Show are offered stately riding facilities. They can enjoy cross-country riding on the 250 acres of trails and around Lake Elizabeth and Indiana Lake, and have access to an army of Show staff, judges, stewards, jump crews and other necessary personnel who make this effort successful. The Show brings in hundreds of riders of all ages from around the country including world class equestrians, Olympic competitors and their magnificent horses.

Nationally known horse trainers, grooms, farriers and veterinarians arrive to the Show because of the precise orchestration of manager Michael Morrissey. Morrissey brings with him more than thirty years of show management experience paralleling the Show organizers’ level of care and attention to details. The Show is also greatly assisted by the Traders Point Hunt Club which plays a major role in bringing volunteers to work in numerous capacities throughout the week.

Tom Santelli, a member of the TPHC and Show Committee member for the last eight years, explained what makes this Show so highly ranked. “The Trader’s Point Hunt Club Horse Show is in the top five horse shows in the nation, and it’s cornerstone piece is the Grand Prix Sunday,” Santelli said. “The Show is made up of many engaging events such as the Paws to Applause Dog Show, Kid’s Day, the Russell Fortune Classic and two Hunter Derbies that showcase the highest level of performing between the riders and the horses. There is a lot more magic in the training and in the athletic abilities of the horse and rider in the Hunter Derbies compared to horse racing.”

Santelli also spoke about the importance of the Show to the local area and why members see it as a valuable asset to the community. “The Show brings in 12-15,000 people over the week,” Santelli explained. “It provides a great opportunity for sponsorship for local businesses and restaurants at both local and national levels. It it a great place for locals to come for a lovely stroll, see some incredible jumping, shop the Country Fair and participate in any of the incredible events that take place on these beautiful grounds.”

For a complete listing of events at the Trader’s Point Hunt Charity Horse Show and Country Fair, and to purchase tickets, visit www.traderspoint.org

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