Horse show returns to county fair this year
Going to the fair is a traditional fall activity, and residents gearing up for this year’s Charles County Fair will be glad to know the University of Maryland Extension Charles County 4-H is bringing the Horse and Pony Show back.
The 4-H Horse and Pony Show will take place at the Charles County Fairgrounds on Sunday, Sept. 18, with registration open at 7 a.m. and a show start time of 8 a.m. The 4-H award presentation will begin at 4 p.m. in six divisions: Western W/J JR Rider, English W/T JR Rider, Western W/J INT/SR Rider, English W/T INT/SR Rider, Western WJL INT/SR Rider and English WTC INT/SR Rider.
“The horse show has been away from us for a few years and now it’s back and I’m excited about it,” fair President J.T. Hindle said. “People are talking about looking forward to it coming back and this way the children have the horse show here and they can feel a part of the fair here. Admission covers the horse show, and they get to see the rest of the fair as well. I think it will be a great showing this year.”
Bonnie Boyden, University of Maryland Extension Charles County 4-H program management specialist, said the 4-H uses the fair to finalize the end of the year for the 4-H program.
“We haven’t had it at the fair for a couple of years so we are bringing it back there this year,” Boyden said. “The horse show became difficult to do with the timeframe. It used to be on the Friday of the fair but with all of the rides and activities going on that day, it was spooking the horses so we had moved it off of the grounds. The last couple of years we talked about bringing it back and worked out a time to be able to do it. The rides won’t be operational during the Sunday morning at the fairgrounds, so it will work out better for participants.” Boyden said participants ages 8-18 will be displaying riding skills, showing how well they maneuver their horses, and how well they handle the horse by halter or by riding. They will demonstrate their skills and judges will place them based on how well they demonstrate those skills.
According to the extension service, there are more than 800 youth involved in the program. The youth in Charles County participate in camps, robotics, small pets, environmental science workshops, horticulture, shooting sports, livestock, horse and teen leadership programs. Through the programs they learn life skills such as decision-making, independence, public speaking and record keeping. The 4-H club has been a part of Charles County since 1912 with a motto of “Learn by Doing.”
Boyden said that in addition to the horse show on Sunday morning, the Charles County 4-H livestock shows will be held on Thursday at 5 p.m. and Friday evening where participants will show their swine, beef and sheep. On Saturday night, 4-H will hold its livestock auction, open to the public.
Miss Charles County Farm Bureau Hayley Tanner, 16, said she looks forward to seeing the horse show return. She will also be showing her own farm animals that she raised since the beginning of the year.
“The youth participants have their 4-H exhibits, specifically what they made throughout the year in 4-H on display at the 4-H building that will be at the fair,” Boyden said.
“One of my favorite parts of the Charles County Fair is watching the horse show and the Queen Nicotina contest,” Tanner said. “I like promoting my projects to the public and promoting agriculture because agriculture is everywhere, and you can be proud of it. I think it’s something that needs to be continued through future generations.”
She will be showing market goats, lambs and pigs at the fair, which she has raised since January. Tanner said she is hoping to come home with the purple ribbon — Grand Champion — and will take her animals into the show ring like a champion.
“A lot of people think we just raise animals but we have our wildlife component, arts and crafts, and different contents of purchase power to learn what products to buy in stores,” Boyden said. “Many of the participants get a chance to show the general public how well they have done and compete against the other 4-H participants. People should come observe all of the things that the youth learn throughout the 4-H program such as animal husbandry, training the animals and our 4-H building gives people an opportunity to see everything that 4-H has to offer.”