Jumpnee taking over fairgrounds

I feel like now that the JumpNee people are taking over the fairgrounds, it is taking the opportunity from county shows and those who can only afford county shows. As a person who has shown on the county circuit for years, it saddens me that there will probably be no county shows at the Del Mar fairgrounds anymore as that was a fun show that everyone could afford.
Anyone have similar thoughts?

What is JumpNee?


Is that where the GSDHJA shows were held? That would be a huge loss.

JumpNEE is Ali Nilforushan’s operation. He also runs shows at Galway Downs which is still also holding county HJ shows, dressage shows, and events. Ali runs the JumpNEE shows and other people run the others. There is an overall manager.


I don’t see it that way at all. Ali is running an A show series (with free OTTB classes!) as an alternative to having to go to Thermal. There’s no FEI at the winter Fairgrounds series, but it’s a step up from the county circuit.

As far as I know, there were never county shows at the Fairgrounds in the winter - they happened at Showpark, which is whole different kettle of fish. Whether there will be county shows at the Fairgrounds in the summer or not remains to be seen, but it’s not Ali’s fault if they’re not there.


But the thing is Ali is making all these renovations for the A show… how much will it cost for the county show people to rent out the fairgrounds for shows?

And the purpose of the this post is to acknowledge that not everyone can afford A shows…. County shows made it possible for us to show at a budget.
In order to be financially comfortable showing at the A show, you’ll need at least $5000 (most likely more)… and you need money for a hotel, food, etc. Not everyone can afford that for a single week of showing.

County shows usually cost about $1500 with training fees, set up, class fees,etc. Even that can be a lot but it’s manageable for those less fortunate enough like myself.


Do you think the renovations will drive up prices of county shows if Ali brings in enough income from his shows? I don’t have those answers, but food for thought. It looks like his schedule doesn’t run when county shows are normally at the fairgrounds, so I’m holding on to hope.

I’ve done a week at A shows for $1500-2000 total. It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of planning (i.e. I drive back and forth from the show, bring my own food), but it’s doable if it’s within commuting distance of home. I was able to include grooming at a few shows and stay within that budget. Not stating this as a negative or to diminish anything you are saying, but to give hope.

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and I think it’s safe to say that ALL of these shows at Galway have benefitted greatly from the facility improvements. I’m not sure why one would assume that Fairgrounds would be so different?

The SET shows are not “taking over” dates from the County Shows. There will now be additional arenas, with better footing, that could be used for other shows at the facility. Until you have actual information that these improvements would drive up the prices of other shows, that’s not a fair assumption to make.


I for one am really looking forward to Ali’s new show series at Del Mar. He has put in all new footing and new hunter rings. The old footing was awful and I hated the tiny outdoor rings. My barn didn’t even like to go to the county shows when they were held at the fairgrounds before. Ali has vastly improved Galway since he brought his series there and I think he will only do the same for Del Mar.

I think the reasons for less GSDHJA shows is due in large part to the closing of Showpark for the past couple years and then closing of Chris Wilson’s series at Galway this last year. However, I’ve heard that Ali is hoping to start his own county series at Galway, and fingers crossed it will be GSDHJA approved.


Showpark is scheduled to reopen under Tom Struzzzieri later this year.
A “HITS LLC Deliveries” sign has gone up by the main gate.
The Del Mar Fairgrounds has limited availability for horse shows from June to September, because of the county fair, followed by horse racing through Labor Day.

I was surprised to see that Ali was allowed to make so many changes to the horse show facility at the fairgrounds, considering it belongs to the state of California, and in the past the fairgrounds has resisted any kind of privately funded anything, even exhibitor parties. But the improvements look great.

Hopefully those improvements will bring in a healthy amount of owners, who want to compete at the best show facility on the coast. And bring back the dressage crowd, many of whom stopped showing there because of the poor footing.


There are some exciting and much needed improvements already underway there, and shows will resume this summer.

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I am not thrilled that Struzzieri and/or HITS will be running Showpark - he’s not got the best track record when it comes to running shows for exhibitors rather than his bottom line. OTOH, at least Showpark will be holding horse shows again, and not get turned into more soccer fields.

Ali’s shows have so far had a good reputation, and the winter series at the Fairgrounds has daily ship-in rates and free classes for OTTBs. So, while it’s an A show, it’s much more affordable for locals than trucking to Thermal, and the stalls are only $350. IIRC, last time I showed at a GSDHJA show at Showpark, stalls weren’t much less than that for fewer days.

I am cautiously optimistic.


Yes! It’s exciting to see the changes come along.

True, his reputation precedes him. However, he’s said that non-hunter/jumper show organizers (western, dressage, saddle seat) are welcome to rent the showgrounds. That’s good news. Many are looking forward to returning to Showpark. Yet it’s a buyer’s market in a sense…those disciplines have other showgrounds they can use (Temecula, Capistrano) if Showpark/Struzzieri doesn’t work out after a few tries.

My fingers are crossed that it will all work and not be too expensive. And maybe, just maybe, have shows that are fun to go to, rather than just humdrum.


HITS and capital improvements certainly is a phrase one doesn’t often hear on the east coast. May your fortune be different…


Look what happened to HITS Balmoral.

I wouldn’t be excited to have him in town.

Upgraded the fairgrounds, you say? As someone that could basically walk to Earl Warren back in the day and fought those battles alongside the SBCRC board, I stand in awe.

It is curious to call out Ali’s co. when Mr. Reputation Precedes has just set up shop 5m away. As far as I can tell, Ali’s biz plan has included a slew of creative, modern, consumer-minded events, classes & themes. I’d be surprised to find he didn’t factor the county system into the bigger picture. He knows where his future customers come from.


I want to be sure there isn’t a misunderstanding about my comments on Jump-nee’s improvements at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. What he’s accomplished - remodeling the physical site - is terrific. It’s also a wonderful surprise, because in the past, the fairgrounds horse show management (and at times state of California) has resisted private businesses/individuals from making any improvements. For example something as simple as an exhibitor party (underwritten by a group of owners and exhibitors who wanted to make it a nicer event) or the termination of a long standing, on site, popular shavings/feed business that was privately owned (the fairgrounds/state took it over).

So we wonder what changed on the fairgrounds/state side, to allow privately owned Jump-nee peform a major re-construct the horse show area, change the footing, and rebuild/relocate rings. The fairgrounds have said they’re in need of money, and are looking into the possibility of building hotels and housing to generate revenue. Maybe they see Jump-nee’s improvements (and announced concerts) as a way to increase cash flow.

As for Showpark, the state’s closure of the facility and subsequent public uproar about it, followed by well qualified parties who wanted to lease it and fix the problems, was covered in the local media/TV news. Although the eventual winner of the lease may not have been everyone’s choice, that’s who we have.

I hope all of this works out for everyone.


So say we all.