Elite Spring Fling Quarter Horse Shows
What’s going on at local and regional shows?
PleasureHorse reporter Linda Van Deusen on the show circuit April 12-15 and April 19-22 – Hamburg, New York
The Elite Spring Fling Quarter Horse Shows are a series of four 2-day shows that take place over two consecutive weekends. The show is sponsored and run by Harold Frey and offered an all-day incentive of unlimited AQHA classes for unlimited riders.
Bronze Challenge trophies were offered for Youth HUS, Am HUS, Youth Western Pleasure and Amateur Western Pleasure. Trail Challenge Trophies were offered for Youth, Amateur, Junior and Senior Horse. Points for these were earned across the eight shows.
Prizes awarded for the regular classes were in the form of “bucks” that could be redeemed for ribbons or “spent” at the table. This allowed people to pick what suited them best. I confess, I usually get any blue or red ribbons, but it’s fun to “shop”!
There were several concessions on site. They included Pat’s Tack Shop, Kimberly’s Creations (gorgeous outfits!), an embroidery shop, Robin Pettix of “The Collection”, Carol Shuster Swartz and a couple others. If I’ve forgotten you, I apologize! Food was provided by the Clarence Grill. They did a nice job and provided lots of food and warm drinks! Maps of the surrounding area were provided by the Village of Hamburg.
The show takes place at the show complex in the Erie County Fairgrounds. This complex is fairly newly renovated and updated over the past several years and they continue to make improvements. All of the stabling consists of portable stalls. The barns are variable with 2 heated barns-one in the main complex and one close by. The remaining stabling is within a short walking distance. The complex itself is lovely to ride in with excellent footing. Even in windy weather, it stays reasonably quiet. The bleachers, however, can serve as a bit of a training ground for Congress since they are metal and can be noisy. The warm up arena is attached and has good sand footing as well. There is a small arena nearby and a very large coarse sand arena up on the hill. This area is extremely large, but basically unfenced except for the chain link fence dividing it from the road. There are several areas to camp that have water/electric.
The weather was highly variable across the 2 weekends. We had everything from sun to rain to snow! The first weekend dawned sunny but very cold. We were in barn 7 and felt as if we were in luxury! The stalls lined the outside walls and left plenty of room for our belongings/chairs and even space for grooming stalls! We dressed in layers and took advantage of the sunshine whenever possible.
Although the shows were not large, entries included Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada. I saw lots of jackets from the World Show and finalists at Congress. The quality of the horses at the show was excellent. I do love the atmosphere and love to see the different horses at work. Since I ride in the western division, it’s the hunters that I usually get to watch. Since the weather was so cold and the complex is heated, I took a few hours and watched the hunters go around. I particularly enjoyed the warm up. It’s fun to see the expressions on both the horses and the riders. I love those old campaigners who go in the ring and go right to work. Don’t let anyone tell you that a horse’s face is not expressive. You can see it not only the face, but the body language too. Equally fun to watch are the young horses just starting out. They enter with such apprehension, but really do grow and develop right before your eyes.
The hunter division was the largest, with classes averaging 12-22 entries. The show staff did a nice job with the jumps, which were decorated very nicely with flowers and greenery throughout. They kept the ring groomed and rideable throughout the show without too much delay. I got a chuckle from watching the tractor operator, smoke in one hand and the other on the wheel of the red Farmall tractor, whizzing around the ring-zoom zoom!
The western division held its own with classes averaging from 5-12 entries. The trail classes were the most popular with Sr Trail having 18-20 entries on all show days. Even the junior trail had 12-15 entries on all show days. Jim Farrell provided the trail patterns and had a nice range of difficulty, increasing as the show progressed.
All in all, a really nice show and a fun start to the show season here in the Northeast. Every person that I met had a nice comment and was very friendly. This included the 2 AQHA stewards on site, Craig Brown and Larry Jaynes. Larry strolled throughout the barns, starting his day at 5am with a barn check. He was still there in the evening when we were finishing our SMS classes. We finished up our show with a visit from the drug testers. They stayed for a while and were very accommodating to our schedule.