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Fair prepares for horse show

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By Lisa King

The 2014 Shelby County Horse Show, which begins tomorrow [Wednesday] promises to be bigger and better than ever, organizers say, and it’s partly due to the way the fair schedule was structured this year.

“It’s [horse show] still part of the fair, but because it’s not part of the fair week, where the livestock animals are here, we can put stalls up in the livestock barn, which means we have more stabling available,” said show secretary, Beth Snider.

Horse Show Manager R.H. Bennett agreed.

“With the fair moving, it frees up one of the other buildings to allow for portable stalls, which we’ve been desperately needing,” he said. “We have grown to our max prior to now as far as number of horses, and this will allow us to grow more. We’ll able to add fifty stalls in portables.”

He said he couldn’t supply an exact figure for number of horses, but knows that numbers are way up.

The main reason the show has grown so much, Bennett said, is because of the proximity of the people who participate in the show.

“One advantage we do have is most of our exhibitors live here in the county or within an hour’s drive of here,” he said. “So, they’ll ship in the day they show, and then they’ll go home. That allows us to handle a lot more horses.”

He said he expects a really good crowd, and added that he did not think that having the horse show after the fair will hurt attendance any.

“I don’t think very many people that come to the fair are that interested in the horse show; I think the people that come to the horse show are the ones that are interested in the horse show,” he said. “That’s why I don’t think it will be a huge problem splitting the two. Most of the spectators at the horse show come to see the horse show. I don’t think it’s just people walking by going to the rides and so forth.”

One new thing this year will be the addition of some additional classes to accommodate a new breed of horse, Bennett said.

“It’s called the Dutch Harness horse, I think there’s four classes,” he said. “It’s something new out there, and the people that are behind it came to us and asked us to add a few classes for their horses. I’m not very familiar with the breed, but it originated in Ireland, I think.”

According to the American Dutch Harness Horse Association, the breed originated from the Netherlands, through stringent stallion selection and other methods, including adding some hackney blood. The association’s Website states that the breed is used extensively in Amish communities, but in addition to being great at pulling carriages, they also have the heart, stamina, beauty and strength to become equine athletes in such competitions as dressage, jumping, fine harness, eventing and other riding disciplines.

“We’ve got six or eight [Dutch Harness] horses entered in it that are coming in from different parts of the country,” Bennett said.

In addition, Snider said, participating in the show gives people the chance to show at the State Fair; the deadline for that is July 1.

“It’s one of the last chances to qualify for the Kentucky State Fair,” she said. 

Bennett said he’s really looking forward to this year’s show, in expectation of a record number of horses and crowd attendance.

I think we’ll have all those people [usual participants] and more,” he said. “I think we’ll have a good crowd.”

 

What:Shelby County Fair Horse Show

When:7 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday

Tickets:Gate admission, $5, box seats, $75 for 6 seats

More info:502-647-0076