Two of the biggest winners at Sunday's Mid-Maryland Horse and Pony Show were a study in contrasts.
The diminutive mare Fluffy Cloud isa spry 25-year-old and can look back on a long, successful career carrying young riders to ribbons in horse shows.
The strapping Appaloosa gelding Smoke-n-Grand ("He's still growing," says Dorothy Thompson, mother of the owner) just turned 3, and has recently started his show career. He has a long, happy life to lookforward to, earning ribbons at horse shows and riding on trails withhis teen-age owner.
These two disparate equines each accounted for a handful of ribbons at Sunday's show, pleasing not only themselves, but also their owners and riders.
"I like the way she rides and she's real gentle," said Tara Baugher of Mount Airy, who owns Fluffy Cloud.
Baugher and Fluffy rode and charmed their way to fourth-place ribbons in the Walk-Trot Pleasure and Walk-Trot Equitation classes. Thanks to Baugher's riding skills and Fluffy's savvy, they earned the blue ribbon in the Walk-Trot Command class.
This was the first show outing this year for Baugher and for Russell Kralowetz, also of Mount Airy. Both youngsters ride with trainer Annette Gregory.
Kralowetz, an 8-year-old student at New Market Elementary in Frederick County, rides Gregory's 15-year-old mare, Peaches and Cream. Together,Russell and Peaches earned a second in Walk-Trot Pleasure, a third in Walk-Trot Equitation, and a third in Walk-Trot Command.
"I like her just like she is," Kralowetz said proudly as he clutched a big batch of ribbons. "She's great."
This was Smoke-n-Grand's second show of the year and the handsome Appy is fulfilling the promise that owner Jennifer Thompson and her mother Dorothy saw in him when he was ayoungster.
"We have been around him since he was a yearling, although we didn't buy him until last year," said Dorothy Thompson. "Whenwe bought him we knew what he would act like. He's always had a beautiful disposition."
Smokey, as he is known to his friends, is shared by Jennifer Thompson and her friend Valerie Garland at horse shows. Thompson rides him in Western classes, and Garland does the honors under English tack.
At Sunday's show, Smokey impressed the judge in the registered halter class with his presence, fine conformation and good looks, earning a blue ribbon. Thompson rode him to third- and fourth-place ribbons in Western Pleasure and Horsemanship, respectively.
Then it was time for a tack change and Garland took to the saddle to collect a third place in English Pleasure and a second place in English Equitation.
"When we bought him, the goal was for Jenny just to have a horse that she can enjoy, whether just for pleasure oron trail rides or at shows," said Dorothy Thompson, of Westminster. "It's nice to get ribbons, but Jenny just hopes to improve by the endof the year."
Although Jennifer Thompson, a ninth-grader at Francis Scott Key High, is devoted to her handsome steed, Dorothy Thompsonsaid her daughter's first love is music, especially the flute.
"I'm glad she keeps busy with her horse and her flute, but now she is talking about taking driver's ed," said Dorothy Thompson with a visible shudder.
"Oh, well," she sighed philosophically. "I just hope she drives as well as she rides a horse."
Do they give blue ribbons in driver's ed?UPCOMING SCHEDULE
* May 2: Trail Riders of Today meeting and pot-luck supper at Masonic Hall in Eldersburg, 6 p.m., 795-4262.
* May 5: Carroll County Equestrian Council monthly meeting, East Middle School in Westminster, 7:30 p.m., 833-4593.
* May 16: Trail Work Day at Gillis Falls Reservoir Site, Mount Airy, 795-4262.