Join the Best Party in Horse Showing at the 2018 HIPICO Santa Fe Summer Series!

The HIPICO Santa Fe Summer Series is fairly new to the hunter jumper world, and as it enters its fourth year of competition, it continues to expand and offer a multitude of classes for all of its competitors. JN sat down with the team at HIPICO Santa Fe to discuss what they bring to the equestrian community in New Mexico and to get the details on some of the exciting, ground-breaking classes they are offering July 18th through August 12th.

The History at HIPICO

Founded by the Gonzales and McElvain families, HIPICO Santa Fe is truly a dream-child born from two horse loving families with a history in the industry. Brian Gonzales has spent his whole life in the saddle and is the co-founder of the Caza Ladron Hunt and the Grand Prix de Santa Fe alongside Guy McElvain. Guy and his family breed Holsteiners and compete in jumpers nationally and internationally. Both Brian and Guy bring a deep-seated love for their home state of New Mexico to the table in every decision they make.

With the goal of bringing high-quality equestrian sport to New Mexico, Brian and Guy joined together to develop what is now HIPICO Santa Fe. Having just kicked off competition at their state-of-the-art facility in 2015, the entire team at HIPICO is proud to bring the community together in a family-friendly and competitive environment.

Brian Gonzales (L) & Guy McElvain (R). Photo by Mary Nieberg

The HIPICO Santa Fe showgrounds offer much more than just hunter jumper competition, however. It is also the home of the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding, a community-based nonprofit that provides children and adults with special needs the opportunity to work with and ride horses in a safe and enriching environment. HIPICO Santa Fe is also the home of the Grand Prix de Santa Fe, which is a nonprofit that has been supporting ​local nonprofit organizations serving at-risk children and promoting the equestrian community of New Mexico since 2004. HIPICO also hosts NM Polo Association competitions June through August each year.​

So what should you expect at HIPICO? In addition to a super fun environment, the 137-acre equestrian facility offers the very best for its visitors, both two- and four-legged. There are 45 spacious, permanent 12×12 stalls in addition to 440 temporary stalls situated around the property. There are multiple all-weather outdoor rings as well as three grass fields. With RV hook-ups, wi-fi internet, turnout paddocks and more, there is an amenity for everyone at this equestrian destination that is conveniently located near hotels, restaurants, airports and major roadways.

Trapp O’Neal aboard Capitano. Photo by Sharon McElvain Photography

The Best Party in Horse Showing

The staff at HIPICO Santa Fe pride themselves on offering “the best party in horse showing” for all of their competitors and spectators. Their national A-rated Summer Series is made up of four weeks of international hunter/jumper competition, but the class selection goes beyond the norm. In addition to the traditional hunter and jumper classes, Santa Fe Summer Series offers the BMW/MINI Ride-and-Drive, the All-in-One Grand Prix, the $1,000 Pro-Am Team Costume Class and the brand new Sister City Challenge Cup.

We have broken down what you need to know about each of these classes below!

$5,000 Sandia BMW/MINI Cooper Ride-and-Drive Challenge

This class is truly one-of-a-kind and is a phenomenal way to bring a new type of excitement to the show ring. Riders enter the ring on horseback and complete a 1.20m course. Upon completion of their round, competitors dismount and hand off their horse to a handler in the ring. They then run through the VIP Lounge to the Jumper 2 arena where they will hop into the passenger seat of a BMW or MINI Cooper where their designated driver takes them on a thrilling ride through the driving course.

Last year’s Ride-And-Drive Winner, Carli Kirsch aboard 2 Cool. Photo by

At the end of their round, the rider will exit the car and run through the timers to stop the clock. The rider finishes the course by running back to the VIP Lounge and tackling a course of three human obstacles that may include limbo, jumping a liverpool and completing a pool shot. The time allowed for this final phase of the competition is 45 seconds, with only one attempt per obstacle.

The Ride-and-Drive has been a hit with fans over the past few years and the team at HIPICO Santa Fe is already eager to see who will challenge last year’s winner, Carli Kirsch, for the crown. This class is a must-see!

All-In-One Jackpot Grand Prix

Abigail Evans & Donnafee. Photo by Sharon McElvain Photography

This unique Grand Prix format allows riders of varying levels to compete against one another for the top prize. Riders select their preferred fence height between 1.0m and 1.40m. Designated handicaps based on fence height will be deducted from the rider’s time in both the first round and the jump-off. We don’t know about you, but this is a class that we would definitely want to participate in!

$1,000 Pro-Am Team Jumper Costume Class

If there is anything better than an exhilarating team jumping challenge, it is an exhilarating team jumping challenge with each rider in costume! Each team will consist of one professional rider and one junior or amateur rider. The junior or amateur member of the team will execute the first six jumps with the professional rider finishing out the course. We are almost as excited to see how everyone will dress up as we are to see who will dominate the class.

Sister City Challenge Cup

New for 2018 is the Sister City Challenge Cup, a dream-child of the partnership between two cities. This class follows a World Cup format and pits sister cities San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Santa Fe, New Mexico against one another in an international showdown. Santa Fe is the inaugural stop of this head-to-head and the challenge will continue each year alternating between San Miguel and Santa Fe. This competition will build the relationship between the two cities and will also boost a cultural and economic exchange between each country. With a friendly rivalry fueling each team, we’re certain that we are going to see some fierce competition from both teams representing the Santa Fe and San Miguel teams.

So whether you are looking for a new venue to visit or some afternoon excitement, the HIPICO Santa Fe Summer Series should definitely be on your radar.  Stop on by this summer and join the HIPICO family for “the best party in horse showing;” we guarantee you won’t regret it!