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Saddle up for show at Horseman’s Grounds

Horse lovers from throughout Kootenays will be coming to the Trail Horseman’s Society Grounds this weekend.

Horse lovers from throughout Kootenays will be coming to the Trail Horseman’s Society Grounds this weekend.

The local grounds, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is hosting the British Columbia Interior Arabian Horse Association’s (BCIAHA) All-Breed community horse show from Friday to Sunday.

Forty to 50 horses will be strutting their stuff for judges in three disciplines – dressage, English and western.

The Horseman’s Grounds has been a busy place this anniversary year. A reunion of longtime members was held in June, there will be this weekend’s event and the big one, Hot August Hooves isn’t that far off.

“That arena is busy almost every weekend,” said Larry Filipek, the society’s president.

The BCIAHA show has rotated from sites in Nelson, Castlegar and Trail over the years.

This weekend’s competition begins on Friday with the dressage event which highlights the horse’s training and enhancement of its natural movement.

Contestants will be judged on how a horse accepts its rider and their aids as well as how a horse moves doing straight lines and circles at different speeds.

The test will start with a walk and trot only, then move up in difficulty to a canter as the horse and rider team progress through the event.

The English riding event is scheduled for Saturday. It features three main types –  dressage, hunt seat, and saddle seat.

In hunt seat, riders are dressed for a foxhunt, and sit more forward.  Saddle seat riding provides the rider with a smoother ride. The English use it when no jumping is expected or quick bursts of speed are needed.

It allows the horse freedom of movement. The rider’s benefit is a tighter rein contact for a quicker response time in jumping and racing.

The Western riding event takes place on Sunday beginning with the ACS Liberty event. The horses will be set loose in the arena one at a time for three minutes and encouraged by their handlers to run around the ring to music. They will be judged on their movements, gait, and expression.

In the Musical Freestyle event, horses and riders will be allowed a four-minute demonstration on how well their horse performs to music.

A concession will be open both Saturday and Sunday.