By WARREN DILLAWAY - email@example.com
A 43 year tradition continued Thursday as the Runnin’ Free and Silver Stir-Ups sponsored horse show took over the eastern side of the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds.
Competition in 43 classes drew horse lovers from all over northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
“We have a big show,” said Jaime Davis, advisor to the Runnin’ Free 4-H Club that helps sponsor the event with the Silver Stir-Ups horse club.
The event is run by volunteers from the two clubs, Davis said. She said family, friends and riders all pitch in to make the event a success.
The classes range from six and under Lead Line to 40 and over competitions.
The horse show is part of a wider competition under the umbrella of the Northeast Ohio Horseman’s Association that includes six different dates for competition and several with multiple judging opportunities on the same date, said Ruth Somnitz, vice-president of the Dusty Boots riding club that sponsors the NEOHA series of competitions.
Each class has a different type of judging. “Some classes are judged on the rider and others strictly on the horse’s performance,” Somnitz said.
“I don’t know what I’d do on the 4th (of July) if there wasn’t a horse show,” said Jennifer Richards.
Samantha Bouck, 12, of Jefferson, was happy with her performance and loves to compete. “I love just the feeling that you get to (be able) play with your horse in a different way,” she said.
Two judges, Dennis Clement and Tamela Fischer, evaluated each contestant and tried to keep the competition moving with reported thunderstorms in the weather report.
Somnitz said new computer equipment used to register and finalize results made the event run more smoothly.