Friday, March 20, 2009

South Dakota Horse Fair

The South Dakota Horse Fair is an annual event, and it's on my calendar every year. It starts tonight. They have some cool presenters this year, including Stacy Westfahl, who I'd love to hear speak. My favorite part of the fair - which I'm unfortunately going to miss - is the Stallion Versatility competition. It's tonight at 6 PM.

They don't always have the same "classes" but the general idea is that there are 5 or 6 events and each stallion must compete in at least so many. They get points for placing in each class, with the overall winner being crowned at the end of the evening. They usually do halter, pleasure (English/western), trail, freestyle reining/dressage, and some sort of action - barrels one year, cutting another. I think they sometimes wait to see what horses they have lined up before deciding definitively on what events they're going to have.

This being western country, the entries are usually heavily weighted toward QHs & paints going western, but there was a very nice Friesian one year, a woman on a Palamino who rode sidesaddle for the western pleasure portion, and a beautiful leopard Appaloosa took high point the very first year. It's fun to watch - particularly because with the same horses in and out of the ring you really start to notice things you like about each - sometimes about the handlers, as well. And with the English & western riders in at the same time, it's also interesting to see how gaits and ways of going compare in each discipline. It's always fun to watch the freestyle portions - and of course, attempting to guess who's going to come out on top is part of it, too.

The fair runs three days - Friday evening through Sunday, and while it isn't as big as the Black Hills Stock show, there are vendors for all things horse-related, and plenty of stuff to keep the kids busy and occupied, as well.


Tammy said...

We just wrapped up the Nebraska Horse Expo. We offer a Mane Challenge - ten teams, 5 events & each horse in the team must participate in at least 2 (or 3??) of the 5 events. The first year we did it, we had 2 teams and 2 horses! I think everyone was nervous about what it was all about. The next few years, it really caught on. This year, we even had a team of friesians and a team of gypsy horses!

Its a great way that locals can exhibit at expo & after the winters we've been having, everyone is so anxious to get out and about!

We had Stacy last year! She was a hit!

SunnySD said...

Wow - that sounds like a lot of fun! I always leave the horse fair determined to at least showcase my breed at the next one, and then March rolls around and he's hairy, filthy, and about as unattractive as he ever gets - definitely not a great ambassador, LOL! But something we could actually participate in would be super. What a neat idea.

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