Take two days of glorious weather, add dozens of enthusiastic riders, mix well with lots of happy horses in a beautiful setting and you've got the perfect recipe for delivering pots of money to the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center.
"During the first four years of this show we raised about $45,000 altogether," said T.R.R.C. founder and director Dr. Helen Tuel before the show's last class on Sunday. "So we were expecting to raise about $10,000 this year, but so far it looks like we are breaking all the records."
Tuel credits enthusiastic support from the Howard County Horse Show Association, from T.R.R.C. volunteers, from the participating riders and from Mother Nature -- who supplied the best weather this show has ever enjoyed -- for the satisfying financial results.
The Howard County Horse Show Association kept two rings running until late in the day on Saturday and Sunday at the Robert Porter family's Foxfield Farm in Woodbine for this fifth annual benefit show. This was the first year that the show offered classes for the special needs riders who participate in the T.R.R.C. program.
"Handicapped riders need recreation on a full-time basis," says Tuel. "Many of our riders would show every day of the year if they had an opportunity. They are athletes and it is important for them to be able to compete at shows like this where they are with their peers."
The last 15 classes of the day in Ring 2 were devoted to riders from therapeutic programs. Volunteers from the T.R.R.C. program began braiding manes at 2 a.m. each morning of the show. Their hard work paid off as the 25 horses and ponies they brought to the show for the program's 80 competing riders were very impressive as they took to Ring 2 in classes such as Equitation Walk, Equitation Walk-Trot, Equitation over Fences, and an obstacle class.
Besides the 15 classes for the therapeutic riders there were 67 other classes for competitors showing on the Howard circuit. Three of the most important of these classes were the $250 Hunter Classic, the $150 Pony and Junior Classic, and the Junior Achievement Award Benefit Hack. Howard County riders acquitted themselves well in all of these classes.
HCHSA president and Columbia resident Kevin Bruce piloted the very handsome young Tour Glide to a win in the Junior Achievement Award class. Tour Glide placed third in the Hunter Classic behind Glenelg resident Ira Zimmerman who placed first aboard Running Bear and second on Mr. G.W.
The Student Equitation division belonged to young riders from Howard County. Champion in the A section of that division was Jessica Factor of Columbia aboard Heather; B section champion was Elaine Speiser of Silver Spring on Gypsy. A section reserve champion was Mark Sardella of Columbia on Mr. Beechwood; Maryclare Barron of Glenwood rode Fudger to the B section reserve.