MOUNT VERNON — The Fredericktown Western Saddle Club Fun Show Wednesday featured horses and riders from all across the county and even all across the state. The show was meant to be a fun alternative to the horse shows that weren’t able to happen this year at the 2020 Knox County Fair.
Tami Vaughn, a trustee and judge for the fun show, said the circumstances behind the show were altered by the COVID-19 pandemic and by the fact that all of the horse shows at the fair have been canceled.
“We never have a show during the fair,” said Vaughn. “This is a unique show in the sense that it is happening as an alternative to what could have happened at the fair if the COVID-19 crisis hadn’t had an impact on it.”
The fun show for this week was a great opportunity for the youth of the community and even some of their older horse riding pals, to get out in the ring and ride their horses as opposed to keeping their horses at home.
“This is a life-long learning event,” said Vaughn. “I started here when I was a little girl and my dad and my mom were involved in some of the early years of the club. I grew up and now I have learned to judge the show. My daughter is out here getting ready to show.”
The fun show keeps the youth that participates in it busy and it helps them to learn skills such as time management and even general people skills by having the youth communicate with their fellow riders.
Due to the social distancing requirements, the events at the fun show had to be spaced out. On Wednesday night, the focus was on Pleasure riding events, which included some horsemanship classes that focused on how the rider is riding the horse and how the rider can make the horse go through different styles of riding. The show also included halter focused showmanship classes, Western pleasure classes, English pleasure classes and ranch pleasure classes.
Vaughn had an interesting perspective on how COVID-19 has impacted the fun show horse event.
“We actually have more riders than we’ve ever had even though the COVID-19 crisis is going on because of the fact that we have riders coming from all across Knox County and the state,” said Vaughn. “We have riders tonight that would normally have been preparing for the fair and we have other riders whose county fairs have been canceled entirely.”
Michaela Bridenstine, a 26-year-old fun show rider from Delaware, agreed that the fun show was a fun and effective alternative to what was canceled at the fair.
“I absolutely think that this is a great alternative event to the fair,” said Bridenstine. “Horse riding is a great social distancing sport because it’s you and your animal and you have to have distance between the animals. I think having events like this can help people get out even though the fair has been pretty much canceled.”
Mary Troy, a 19-year-old rider from Mount Vernon, was impacted by the fact that there have been fewer horse events because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year is different because we are not able to get out as much,” said Troy. “The horses aren’t able to see as many places. Coming to the first show can be a little nervous for the horses who haven’t been able to get out as much. You just aren’t sure how your horse is going to handle it.”