Members of the newly formed Mid-Maryland Horse and Pony Association are eagerly making preparations for their first show.
"It was justlast October that we put together this group," said corresponding secretary Arlene Atkins of Sweetwater Bluff Stables. "Now we have a schedule of eight shows for this year."
The MMHPA currently has 45 families, most from Carroll and Howardcounties, as members.
"Several of us were at a meeting (of another local horse show association) last fall when things just got out ofcontrol," says Linda Arnold of New Windsor, the group's recording secretary.
"On the way home, my husband, Richie, said maybe we should start a new club. When he said that, it just went right over my head. But then Sharon and Jim Wiles said the same thing, and it just gotrolling from there."
Jim and Sharon, of Westminster, are vice president and treasurer, respectively. Chris Morgan of Westminster was elected president.
Atkins and Arnold said the new organization was formed primarily for youth riders, although there are classes for adults.
"We really tried to put in lots of classes for kids 12 years old and under," says Atkins. "Each division is divided by age groups.The 'A' classes are for riders over 18, the 'B' classes are for riders 13 to 17, and the 'Y' classes are for those 12 and under."
Walk-trot classes are planned for riders under 12, with trotting classes offered for adults, as well.
"When we first got started, everyone put in all the classes they wanted to see us have, but there were just too many, so we had to take some out," Atkins said with a laugh.
The shows at Howard County Fairgrounds will include 66 classes in two rings. One ring will hold all of the timed speed classes, such as barrels, figure-eights, poles, plug and flag.
The other ring will start off the morning with showmanship, halter, trail and lead line classes, and progress through a full complement of western and English classes. There will be no speed classes at Frederick or Prettyboy.
"We want these shows to be fair and fun for the kids," Arnold said. "We want showing not to have to be so much work for them anymore. Ouryouth adviser (Sandi Collins) is really good working with kids."
Atkins's daughter Ashley, 8, is getting Appaloosa horses Eagle and Lacey ready for the first show.
"We are all looking forward to this," says Atkins. "We have kept the class fees low -- $4 and $5 -- so that everyone can come and show."
Ken Winfield will judge the first show at Howard County Fairgrounds. Here is the MMHPA's 1992 schedule:
* March 29, Howard County Fairgrounds, West Friendship
* April26, Frederick Pony Club Grounds, Ijamsville
* June 6, Prettyboy Show Grounds, east of Hampstead
* June 21, York Springs (Pa.) Equestrian Center (double-point show)
* July 19, Howard County
* Aug. 8, Prettyboy
* Oct. 4, Howard County
* Oct. 25, Howard County
Information: (410) 875-2050 or (301) 253-0008.