A new year will mean a fresh start for the time-honored St. Louis Horse Show Series, which will return in 2021 under the ownership of Mo Duhon. With extensive experience in nearly all facets of horse show management and operations, Duhon hopes to make the St. Louis Horse Show Series a beloved annual stop on the show calendars of riders around the country.
A passion for equestrian sports has always been a driving force for Duhon, who spent decades working in various positions at top show venues across the U.S. He began as a member of the jump crew and ring maintenance, graduating to in-gate, and eventually, founding his own jump design and leasing business. His wife, Sarah Mechlin Duhon, operates a well-known hunter/jumper training and sales business out of Mechlin Farm in St. Louis.
“I’m very excited about what this means for the St. Louis area,” Duhon said. “[Former show owner] John McQueen married us, and he’s like family to us. Taking on these events was an easy decision, and I think that John trusted me to be able to do a good job here.”
The 2021 winter series will include three two-week-long events in December, January, and February at the National Equestrian Center (NEC) in St. Louis. That circuit will follow a preliminary, week-long competition at the NEC in late October, which will also host the Zone 7 North Finals. There will also be a fifth event prior to the St. Louis Charity Horse show in mid-September.
In addition to his close, working relationship with course designer Skip Bailey and other top equestrian professionals in the industry, Duhon hopes to leverage his extensive family ties in the St. Louis area; from custom-made jumps and horse transportation, to hay, shavings, and manure removal. “We’re a family-oriented business that has a vested interest in the success of everybody in our area, because our business touches every part of our area.
“The priority, right now, is premium footing, and we are working with the National Equestrian Center and GGT-Footing™ to ensure we have that, so our competitors will have a safe place for the horses to ride. Second is to make sure that we establish a real rapport with all of our exhibitors. I want attendees to know that we’re available to listen to them and incorporate their thoughts,” he said.
In addition, Duhon plans to offer exhibitor’s parties, utilize the facility’s VIP area, and expand prize money for competitors. Meeting the unique needs of juniors and amateurs is also a concern, with possible future additions including a developing equitation series, establishing a circuit final, and offering scholarship opportunities for young riders.
As a Midwest native and well-known coach, encouraging the next generation of equestrians is a mission that is also close to Sarah Duhon’s heart. “Some of the best horsemen in this country grew up in the Midwest. Mo wants to support that, and he understands that not every family can go to Wellington, or spend six months in the South every winter,” she said. “He really wants to try to bring an elite level of competition right back here to the St. Louis area.”
Mo Duhon hopes that the new St. Louis Horse Show Series will cultivate a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, with the quality and hands-on efficiency that’s come to be synonymous with his family’s local businesses. “I know that Mo is going to be standing ringside, he’s going to walk through the barns, he’s going to watch the schooling area, he’s going to help the in-gates with conflicts, and help the trainers know where to be, and when to be there, because he’s done it all before,” said Sarah Duhon.
“When exhibitors come here, and it’s a production that Mo has put on, you’re going to feel like you have a very close relationship with the new management.”
Learn more at DMGshows.com—website coming soon.