Back in the Saddle Again
As counties in western North Carolina slip away from their agricultural roots, it’s easy to forget that the 4-H Club is still helping kids learn about raising plants and animals.
Two local 4-H Club members, Jazmyne Maxwell and Jacqueline Walczak, started to notice that over the years the horse loving community of the High Country was being forgotten.
“The horse shows and events came to a halt, and the once active 4-H Horse Club had ceased to exist,” Walczak said. “Horse shows all around the state were great, but waking up at 4 a.m. and driving for two-plus hours was not.”
Maxwell and Walczak decided to revive the 4-H horse show tradition in the High Country. With the help of local 4-H extension leader Karee Mackey, the young women, both 17, have created the Blue Ridge Open Charity Horse Show.
The two-day event will take place at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25.
For the past several weeks the girls, along with their fathers and other volunteers, have been working to conquer the many details of hosting a horse show. In addition to setting up an official website where participants can learn about the show, its location and rules, the group has had to deal with issues like parking, food, trash pickup, jump placement, creating a program, finding sponsors and other details.
Now, with the show less than 10 days away, things are beginning to take shape.
Saturday’s event at the Blue Ridge Open Charity Horse Show will feature halter, western, saddle pleasure and adaptive riding events. There will also be a “fun and games” period, which will include horse riding favorites costume class, egg ’n’ spoon, ride-a-buck, bubble gum race, musical pairs and red light, green light.
Sunday’s schedule of events includes hunters, jumpers, dressage and English Flat Section.
Saturday’s event begins at 9:30 a.m., and Sunday’s begins at 8:30 a.m.
Many of the riders will be stalling their horses overnight at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve.
Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve was chosen for the new horse show because of its ample facilities and accessibility to the trails at the Moses Cone Estate.
Maxwell and Walczak have recruited Heather Hines, a four-star rated judge from Raleigh, to determine the winners in each class.
Charities to benefit from the horse show include Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary and Horse Helpers of the High Country.