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Equestrian Event to Return With Jousting, Bigger Purse

The Putnam Boston Equestrian Classic will return to Hamilton in September, bring with it jousting for the first time.

Don Little decided he wasn’t going to rest on his laurels after a successful inaugural .

The chairman of the event, now called the Putnam Boston Equestrian Classic, decided to fine tune the equestrian event by adding features that he anticipates will enhance the event while attracting more spectators.

Among the differences will be a family day, jousting and more prize money which should attract more and better riders.

The family day, on Saturday, will include pony rides, entertainment for kids, dog agility competitions and more.

“We’re trying to attract a bigger crowd,” said Little. “Jousting is a great show. Kids love the idea. It’s a fun thing to (watch).”

The event will cover two weekends at the in Hamilton. The 127-year-old Myopia Horse Show will take place Sunday, Sept. 4, and Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5. The Boston Equestrian Classic will run for four days, Sept. 8-11. Last year the event was one weekend and the .

And Little is hoping that more prize money helps boost the event too. The prize money increases to $110,000 in 2011, including the Grand Prix event seeing its take-home at $50,000, up from $30,000 in the first year.

“Hopefully the prize money will go up every year,” said Vanessa Stasiuk, executive director. “Obviously the more prize money will attract more riders and better competitors.

Little said more than 6,000 people made their way to Hamilton last year to see the show. He’s hoping to up that number this year. And a unique preview might just do that.

Two weeks before the event, on Thursday, Aug. 25, some of the horses and riders will put on an exhibition right in the middle of downtown Boston, on at Beacon and Charles streets, as workers are on their way home at 5:30 p.m.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and the Parks commissioner OKed the idea as it will be a charity fundraiser for the now privately funded Boston Park Rangers.

“There will be tremendous interest (in Boston) and I think it will be a great preview,” said Little, who first brought a professional equestrian event to the North Shore with the Ritz-Carlton Boston Jumper Classic 20 years ago. But when he scaled back on the day-to-day undertaking, the new director moved it to New Hampshire. “It should be a nice summer evening with great horses and great jumps."

The event will again support the Fisher House in Boston. The Fisher House provides housing for veterans and their families during stays at the VA Medical Center in Boston.

“We think overall last year was very successful. So we are trying to build on that this year with more prize money, better riders and better sponsors. It’s a growth process. So far we believe it will be better.”

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