TAMPA — One of the area’s oldest annual horse shows continues today and Saturday at the Florida State Fairgrounds, with amateur and professional riders from around the state and nation putting horses through their paces.
Show manager Peter Fenton said about 200 horses are involved in the show, now in its 78th year. “The riders will compete in different disciplines, like pleasure riding and driving. There will be children as young as 6 and 7 and people 75 to 80 (years old) competing in various classes.
“Kids like it because it’s the magic of the horses and it’s really a great family event,” he said.
The association puts on two horse shows a year and generally contributes about $5,000 to the Scottish Rite Foundation of Florida to be used to fund language classes for hearing-impaired children, said Becky Buffington, a board member for the association. “All the exhibitors and riders pay an entry fee, and we also have sponsors who help pay to put on the show,” Buffington said.
Today, the competition begins at 10 a.m. and continues for about three hours. It resumes at 6 p.m. On Saturday, the competition starts at 9 a.m. At about noon, an academy for young and inexperienced riders begins, with lessons for showing horses, Fenton said. The championship division riders take the arena at 7 p.m.
Those wishing to attend may enter the fairgrounds from Orient Road and head to the Charlie Lykes Arena.