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    Vladimir Sovyak / The Mainstream

Spooktacular Fun Horse Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds

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The Spooktacular Horse Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds scheduled 42 classes for Oct. 29.  Riders ages ranged from under five to over fifty.  The show started with English Riding Classes, followed by Showmanship, Trail, and Western Classes.

Three age groups were organized for the event: 13 and under, 14-18, and 19 & over.  The most attended classes for the show were in the 13 and under category. The Costume Class Ride was held at the end of the day, but it was also the finale for the event as a whole. Costumes ranged from a horse dressed as a car with working headlights to a dragon with a princess, a horse dressed as a frog with a princess rider, and even a rider with taped glasses atop a “nerd” horse with Einstein’s theory of special relativity painted on to the horse. Out of the entire day, crowd support was also most apparent during the Costume Class Ride for the under 13 group.

To clarify, all “classes” at the show in each age group were ranked competitions with ribbons handed out to the first through fifth place contestants.
“I’ve been involved with horses for about 11 years now. I’ve been doing the show down here pretty much since I was in fourth grade, as soon as I was old enough to do 4-H I got involved with the show,” Estan Hughey said, a Forest Management major at UCC. Hughey primarily volunteered this year, but he also participated in Western classes.

“Even if you have no idea what you’re doing when you show, it’s a great place to come down and see what it’s about. It’s a schooling show, not a high-end show,” Hughey said.

Hughey competed for nine years at the Spooktacular before this year’s event. “Working Pairs is my favorite [class]. We and one of my friends who moved usually got first or second,” Hughey said. Working Pairs is a class in which paired riders coordinate the paired horses which mirror each other through various speeds of riding, as well as stopping and directional changes announced by the judges.

Jasmyn Antos, a Dental Assisting major at UCC and avid equestrian, also attended the event. Like Hughey, Antos has been around horses for over a decade. Antos participated for five years in the Spooktacular. Antos spectated this year, and she noted some of the differences in how classes were judged this year compared to recent years. “The judges asked a lot more than usual of the riders, but the riders were also given more feedback than at previous events,” Antos said.
The show took place without any major equine incidents. A couple of more frustrated horses crow hopped, albeit infrequently, but no truly unruly horses had to be removed. There was one incident of minor kicking from a horse during the Western Pairs Open class, but the kick did not stop the rider from finishing the class.

Locals interested in showing their horse or horses for the first time may want to keep their calendar open for next Halloween.  If that is too long to wait, the Hearts and Hands show in February is another chance to participate in a local horse show.  The Spooktacular was organized by Norma Talburt and judged by Cheryl Briggs.