Kershaw County has a long association with horses. The third oldest continuously active polo field in the United States is in Camden. It can be found at the end of Polo Lane in the middle of town, near the sites of the large hotels that once served as winter residents for northerners seeking to escape the cold winters back home.
During the winter season, as many as 1500 thoroughbreds will call one of several training facilities home. Throughbreds account for about 50% of the horse population in Kershaw County. In addition to thoroughbreds, the list of other horse breeds in the community at any time will include the following: Saddlebred, Pinto, Quarter Horse Mix, Appaloosa, Warmblood, Draft, Standardbred, American Paint Horse, Pony, Arabian, Miniature, Gaited, Tennessee Walking Horse, Halflinger, Morgan and Mule/Donkey.
Camden Cup Polo Weekend
Camden, SC is home to the second oldest polo field in the nation. Built in 1898, the polo field is an intrinsic part of the history of Camden as well as South Carolina. For fifty years, polo was played here and drew visitors from around the world. The beginnings of the equine industry in Kershaw County can be traced to the development of Camden as a winter resort with polo as the chief attraction. The second half of the 20th century saw a steady decline in the play of polo here, but that trend was reversed in 2001 when the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County and the Camden Polo Club teamed up to revive this grand, family-oriented tradition.
The Camden Polo Field, located in the midst of history Camden, is held in perpetual trust by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation and has been declared a National Landmark. Efforts to save this field from development have been heralded across the state and in polo circles around the country.
The Camden Cup combines a tradition of outdoor fun with a historic sporting event during the first weekend of May. Sunday will be packed as two regional teams vie for the Camden Cup trophy while spectators enjoy the "sport of kings" during a day of elegant tailgating, divot stomping and the chance to mingle with other polo patrons from throughout the region.
SC Equine Park
The South Carolina Equine Park (SCEP) is a 40 acre center that has been specifically designed for a full range of activities, breeds, and users, such as hunter/jumpers, quarter horses, paint horses, dressage, ranch horse shows, breed shows, and youth events.
The South Carolina Equine Promotion Foundation officially arrived in Kershaw County at a full gallop September 25, 2009 with the grand opening of the SCEP offering opportunities for anyone with a passion for horses.
This Park is Phase One of the SCEP. The Foundation, a non-profit organization 501(c)(3), aims to acquire additional land, expand the stabling, and build an enclosed, all-weather show pavilion to attract large audiences. The pavilion could host a variety of non-equine events as well.
SCEP is proud to offer an equine facility in central South Carolina that is accessible by several nearby interstates including I-20, I-95, I-26, and I-77.
For more information and/or a calendar of events, please visit www.scequinepark.com.
CLICK HERE for current news about the SC Equine Park.
The Carolina Cup ushers in spring with steeplechase racing at one of the state's largest sporting events. Estimates of 50,000 fans crowd into the Springdale Race Course for a day of racing and outdoor activity. Call for information at (803) 432-6513, or on the web at www.carolina-cup.org.
The Colonial Cup
The Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup in the fall provides the season's grand finale-often deciding which horse of the year will garner the famous Eclipse Award. Established in the 1970s as part of the state's Tricentennial Celebration, The Colonial Cup is a memorial to the founder of the eminent race meet and benefactress of the course, Marion duPont Scott. It is a family day in the country enjoying the thrill of steeplechase and a host of activities to enchant children.
Colonial Cup Festival Week
See the Colonial Cup "Chase Around Town" Schedule for details about the exciting events that happen during the week prior to the Colonial Cup.
Contact the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce at (803) 432-2525, or the Sprindale Race Course at (803) 432-6513 if you need more information.
The National Steeplechase Museum is located at the Springdale Race Course in Camden, South Carolina and offers a glimpse of how a steeplechase training facility works. It offers displays of the owners who have won the "Steeplechaser of the Year" from 1948 to the present. Memorabilia and photographs showcase steeplechasing history, and exhibits are changed twice a year. The NSA Ambrose Clark Award winners are displayed at the museum honoring those who have been recognized for their contributions to steeplechasing.
The museum also contains a library dedicated to J.V.H. "Bobby" Davis, a very notable rider and trainer, and the roots of steeplechasing can be found in the library. The "Victorian Hill" trophy room contains trophies for the last seventy years.
So, plan to visit the museum for a day of fun and explore the exciting world of steeplechase racing. While you are here, ride the "Equisizer", which is designed to help train jockeys, and check out the souvenirs that are on sale as well.
Catherine French, Director
200 Knights Hill Road
Camden, SC 29020
(803) 432-6513 or, (803) 243-0948
Fax: (803) 432-4062
Hours of Operation:
September to May (Monday to Friday) 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
June to August By Appointment
Springdale Race Course was built by Harry D. Kirkover and Ernest L. Woodward, two of Camden's winter residents who were enamored with legendary southern charm and opportunity for field sport. Together these gentlemen designed the first full length European style course in the country where all jumps could be reviewed from the same spot.
The course was subsequently owned by Marion duPont Scott whose place in steeplechase history is one of unequaled value. According to her wishes, Springdale Race Course was donated with an endowment to the State of South Carolina, thus ensuring an enduring legacy.
Today the course boasts seasonal training facilities as well as two annual race meets. Increasing crowds have been accommodated by the large grandstand, expended rail and infield parking, and a corporate terrace. In accordance with the original design, race patrons still enjoy a spectacular view of all fences in this beautiful and pastoral setting.
Carolina Cup Racing Association
The Carolina Cup Racing Association is the governing authority of the Srpingdale Race Course, owned by the State of South Carolina. Management is vested by the Board of Directors to the Race Director, Jeffery A. Teter, former leading steeplechase jockey.
The mission of the Association is the ongoing support of the Kershaw County Medical Center, to which a donation is made annually at the Colonial Cup Races. The Camden Jaycees and Camden Jr. Welfare League also receive donations for their volunteer efforts.