July 19, 2011 at 2:11 PM

April Pleasure Play Day

"A Play Day is great way to begin the riding season and tune up a horse for the show season or trail riding"

By Susie Morgan

Hoof Prints in Santa Fe

Susie Morgan is a lifetime lover of horses, the outdoors and lives for adventures. She lives in Las Campanas, and is reconnecting with horses after working 27 years in New York City.

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A Play Day is great way to begin the riding season and tune up a horse for the show season or trail riding. Leave it to Terry Berg, Barn Manager of the Santa Fe Equestrian Center (previously known as the Horse Park near the airport) to come up with a wide variety of classes for optimal fun. Participants rode a variety of breeds including Paint horses, Morgans, American Quarter, Haflinger ponies and Warm-bloods. 

Sunday, April 17, the morning was beautiful for the 15 rider/horse pairs. For some, this was their first or second show of their life including some young children and a few that qualify for AARP. A wide variety of classes were available including English and Western, Trail, Halter, Showmanship, Horsemanship, Lead Line and fun classes. One young child in Lead Line class stole everyone’s hearts with the rider posting in the trot on the pony. The show was affordable by setting a flat rate for the whole day, encouraging people to enter as many classes as possible. 

Gracie Calavan took home 10 first place ribbons on her new mare, Ruby, while Izzy Deveroux and KayMarie Barfield scooped up several blues apiece.  Representing the senior riders in her second show, Catherine Hapka took a 3rd place in the Walk/Trot in a field of eight riders and did very nice pattern classes as well. Experienced AQHA Youth Exhibitors Izzy and KayMarie gave a demonstration on the correct way to conduct the Showmanship Class. 

An eight year old boy won the Egg and Spoon class on a big bay horse. Egg and Spoon requires the rider to ride while balancing an egg on a spoon. If the egg drops, the rider is disqualified. The last rider holding an egg wins. The broken eggs caused an unplanned arrival of crows anxious to scoop up those broken eggs. The dive bombing crows caused many horses to spook, but all riders stayed mounted and kept the horses under control. 

In the afternoon, the winds picked up in the dressage arena but the show continued as planned despite the tumbleweeds bouncing across the arena and hanging up in some horses tails. 

Everyone appreciated the Santa Fe Equestrian Center, owned by the Los Alamos National Bank, for sponsoring the show and to Terry Berg, Barn Manager of the center and Helen Newton for putting together all the show bills, numbers, announcing and collecting the funds. Special thanks to professional equestrian Rhianna, for donating her time to judge the classes. The next Play Day series will be Reining on May 22nd followed by Pleasure Show on May 29th

The Equestrian Center is a multi-discipline barn with facilities that include a covered arena, a dressage arena, a rodeo arena and polo grounds and access to trails. Contact Terry Berg, 946-7676 to schedule events or to inquire about boarding.

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