HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM)– The Pennsylvania National Horse Show kicked off Thursday at the Farm Show complex featuring 10 days of competitions and 1,500 horses.

Riders compete all year to qualify and travel from across the country to be here, all looking for prestigious championships and a share of more than a $600,000 prize pool.

Most events are free to the public but organizers say what you see is just a small fraction of the work riders do.

“There’s a lot that goes into just their really quick two minutes in the show ring,” executive director for the Pennsylvania National Horse Show Foundation Susie Shirk said. “Making sure the horses are safe and sound here, and then there’s the part of riding and exercising them. They are athletes and they need to keep them fit, just like the rest of the athletes.”

The first events get going Friday night and the horse show continues through next Sunday, Oct. 22.