Competitors of all ages from across the western provinces gravitated to Ponoka for the Morgan Summer Classic Horse Show, July 11 to 13.
The show, made up of Morgans and saddlebreds, welcomed 93 animals and 125 riders to the Calnash Ag Event Centre, where it has been held since the building opened in Ponoka.
Riders competed in western, English and hunter classes.
“We have from lead line to walk trots all the way up to the senior level,” said show secretary Aldona Tracey.
Judges were looking for horses that were calm and collected, obedient, responsive, as well as a professional looking image between the horse and rider.
There were four to five different stables represented at the Spring Classic and many of the competing riders will attend the World Champion Morgan Show in Oklahoma this October.
The Spring Classic is headed by a small, independent society — the Summer Classic Horse Show Committee Society — and is a part of a series of five saddlebred and Morgan shows.
“We just needed another show,” Tracey explained.
One of the many entrants at the show was Hayley Hauck, a 17-year-old Edmonton competitor, who has been riding horses for the last 10 years but entered her first show only three years ago.
It was when she switched stables that her new instructor began encouraging her to compete.
Since her first show Hauck has gained a lot of confidence in her abilities in the arena. “My first show, I was pretty much terrified. I was shaky when I was riding.”
“Now I’m not as nervous when I first go into the ring,” she added.
For Hauck, when she isn’t spending time advancing her four-year-old saddlebred Motley, she is simply enjoying the competition. “I like getting to ride with a bunch of other people, not just from my stable. I also like the challenge of competing against others.”