Paint horses compete for cash, prizes

Equine enthusiasts converged to the Ponoka Calnash Ag Centre for the Alberta Paint Horse Association

More than 100 horses and those showing them attended the annual Paint Horse Fall Classic to compete in classes ranging from western

More than 100 horses and those showing them attended the annual Paint Horse Fall Classic to compete in classes ranging from western

Equine enthusiasts converged to the Ponoka Calnash Ag Centre for the Alberta Paint Horse Association’s annual Fall Classic over the weekend of Sept. 20 and 21.

President Andrea Gutmann says between 100 and 150 entrants participated in the show.

Most are members of the association, but contestants can travel from all over to compete, as long as they are showing registered American Paint horses, which derive from quarter horse and thoroughbred bloodlines. Other horses of the same pattern scheme are labeled pinto.

Classes included halter, English, and western and any age could partake. “We have leadline for five and under on Sunday,” said Gutmann.

For those who wanted to take their horse to the supreme level classes of the show, it takes perseverance and usually working with both trainers and handlers. “Months of training and fitting . . . dedication,” said Gutmann

The classic scores points to the horses, which adds to its point standings for the American Paint Horse Association. “In this type of showing they win points for how many horses they beat,” said Gutmann.

The Fall Classic offered high point prizes and a total cash pot of $5,000. The two-year-old prize is a sponsored trailer for a year and young horses have to have competed for three years to be eligible.

“This is a show of high importance for the weanlings (horses born in the past spring), said Gutmann. “This is the start of their show career.”

“The points they can collect for the trailer, this is the first leg of that,” she added.

Over the years, the popularity of paint horse shows has leveled with less overall horses but many more young horses entering each year. “Our amateur divisions are pretty strong, too,” said Gutmann.