TALLINN - They say that a country's athletic achievements are always in a field that somehow typifies that country. In that case, it is no wonder that the Palladium Cup travels around the fields and meadows of Estonia all summer, culminating in the Tallinn International Horse Show, to be held this year on Oct. 8 - 10, at the Saku Suurhall.
Besides being the final stage of the local competition, the show is also a World Cup event. A grand total of 11 countries will send their finest horses and most skilled riders to Tallinn, to see which equestrian beauty can overcome all the hurdles in the most elegant and impressive manner.
The competition begins on Oct. 8, with the Palladium Cup finals for young horses at 10 a.m. and young riders at noon. At 2:20 p.m., it's the first of the Concours de Saut Internationale runs. The exhibition of equestrian excellence is interrupted just before 5 p.m. for the opening ceremony, with suitably grand entertainment provided by the National Opera Brass Band, as well as some evergreen music from the band Evergreen 7.
The ceremony concludes with a dressage demo, which should showcase dizzying new levels in trotting around and looking pretty. At 6 p.m. the CSI competition continues with a speed run, and the day ends with the Palladium Cup final and a run for hobby riders.
Oct. 8 continues with events for young riders, speed runs, and finally the CSI Masters competition, but the main events are held back for Oct. 10.
The FEI (International Federation for Equestrian Sports) competition, also known as the Peugeot Cup, offers a brand new car as the grand prize. The final show of the day is perhaps the most entertaining: the Estonian championship in horse-based high jumping is expected to yield not just a winner, but a new national record.
The Tallinn International Horse Show is a family-friendly event, so there will be plenty to do between runs. There will be several play areas for children, live bands will be playing, and the organizers have even booked an actual dog and pony show; the dogs being particularly smart ones, and the ponies being particularly competitive ones. And if that isn't enough, a show group of real, live Cossacks will be performing, all the way from Hungary. And the touch of weirdness that seems to be an integral part of every major event in Estonia will be provided by a fancy dress relay competition as part of the main program. o
The Tallinn International
Oct. 8 to 10,