Friday was Quarter Horse Day at the Howard County Fair.
Registered American Quarter Horses and their riders competed in 59 classes throughout the day. The horses showed their stuff in halter classes, as well as showmanship, western performance, trail, reining and English classes.
Among the day's competitors was High Class Occasion, a 2-year-old filly owned by Woodbine residents Ivan and Jamie Markowitz. "This is her very first show," Mr. Markowitz said fondly of the lovely sorrel he has owned since April.
"Classy" showed in the Amateur Western Pleasure Class and in the 2-year-old Snaffle-Bit Class, where she earned a fifth-place ribbon.
Classy seemed to handle just about everything well, getting praise from the judge for handling well, despite her inexperience.
"I found her in North Carolina. I really liked her sire. He was a good Snaffle-Bit horse and all his babies are really nice movers."
The Markowitzes come to their love of horses by different paths. Ivan is the big city boy who always wanted to be a cowboy and Jamie is the country girl who always had a pony.
"I grew up in D.C. and my Dad would take me all over wherever we could find a stable to go trail riding," Mr. Markowitz remembers. "Finally, when I was 24 years old, my Dad and my brother and I bought a horse to share. . . . It just progressed from there."
Mrs. Markowitz said she started showing in 1989 and was in the top 10 in the country with her mare, Ima Boston Crocker. After she had a daughter two years ago, she took a hiatus from showing.
"Now I'm getting back into it and learning how to deal with young horses, which is Ivan's specialty," she said. "This is like learning how to ride all over again when you work with the babies."
Between classes, Jamie's daughter, Devon Hersey, leads Classy around the show grounds, stopping now and then to rub noses and exchange kisses.
"Tell her 'whoa' now, Devon," Jamie tells her daughter. "Now tell her she's a good girl."
Classy and Devon -- good girls both -- obey instantly.
"Come back next year and see them both as 3-year-olds," laughs Mrs. Markowitz, "they'll both be dynamite."