Back in the Saddle

Article Published: Jun. 7, 2012 | Modified: Jun. 7, 2012
Back in the Saddle

The first of three weeks of horse show excitement begins this Thursday when the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show presents the saddlebred portion of its competition.
Photos by Jeff Eason

This weekend is a big one for horse lovers.

On Saturday, racing fans will tune into the Belmont Stakes to see if I’ll Have Another can become the first horse in more than three decades to claim the prestigious Triple Crown.

A little closer to home, horse lovers will pour into the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve this weekend for the beginning of the three-part Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. The event takes place Thursday through Sunday, June 7 to 10, and is expected to attract hundreds of horse riders and their support teams.

This weekend’s event at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show will spotlight horses and riders well-versed in saddlebred competition. The horse show is held at the L.M. Tate Horse Show Grounds at 1280 Laurel Lane.

The final two weeks of the show (July 24 to 29 and July 31 to Aug. 5) will concentrate on the jumping/hunting competition.

The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is now in its 89th straight year, making it the longest continually running annual horse show in the eastern half of the United States. It has long been a focal point of the summer season for tourists and summer residents of Blowing Rock.

According to “A Village Tapestry: The History of Blowing Rock” by Barry M. Buxton, “The peak of the summer season was the Horse Show with its parties and pageantry. The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show, which began in 1923, attracted equestrians from throughout the Southeast.

“Lloyd Tate, the Horse Show’s founder and director for many years, held the first show on Green Hill.

In those early days the Horse Show was largely a social event with area riders. Hayden Clement, Frank Jones, and Col. Robert Gray, who acted as judges at the early shows, were alleged to have been partial to pretty girls, regardless of their riding skills, so the prettiest girls generally rode home bedecked in blue ribbons.”

According to Buxton, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show was moved to Mayview Manor property in 1928, and its current location, complete with stables, riding areas and grandstand, sits on the site of the old Mayview Manor Golf Course.

Proceeds from the 2012 Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show benefit the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation, supporting local non-profits and emergency health care services and promoting equestrian sports, education and recreation.

Admission to the horse show is free, but there is a $5 per vehicle parking fee. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

For more information, call (336) 469-8207, or visit

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