The Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, CA is one of the largest equestrian facilities in North America and hosts competitive riders from all over the world. Since a change of ownership in 2019, extensive efforts and investments have been made to elevate both the rider and spectator experience. Stepping onto the showgrounds feels like entering a luxury equestrian village. Anything you could ask for is right on site and everyone you run into is happy to be there.
As a former competitive equestrian, the horse park in Thermal was always the pinnacle of competition on the West Coast. It was the aspiration of many riders from my collegiate team and training barns to one day be able to show in the Grand Prix. As a corporate sponsor, I still feel the magic of the place, just without the nerves. I was fortunate enough to spend some time during the first week of the Desert Holiday Circuit taking in all the amazing hunter and jumper competitions and handing out some awards for the Whittier Trust sponsored classes. The new Grass Field is a sight to behold, with lush green grass and jumps taller than many of my former teammates. Sitting at the Whittier Trust table under the VIP tent was the perfect vantage point, though the highlight of the week (and possibly my equestrian life), was walking the 1.55-meter course with one of the riders before the final grand prix of the week.
Between the beautiful venue, perfect winter weather, abundant food, and breathtaking riding, there was nothing more I could ask for as a spectator. As a sponsor, I was thrilled by the support from the team at DHIP. Each person I interacted with was excited about Whittier’s participation and sponsorship. It seemed as though everywhere I went, I could hear announcements about Whittier Trust over the speakers and buzz about the Whittier Trust classes to come. The Whittier Trust jump was also prominently incorporated into the courses on the grass field and made for stunning photographs, frequently posted across social media.
As difficult as it was for me to leave at the end of the week, I’m thrilled that we are continuing our sponsorship of the Desert International Horse Park for their 2023 season and very much looking forward to a return trip to the desert in the new year!