SIMMIE’S SHOW

Horse cel­e­brates 30 years at fair

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Tawana Roberts troberts@news-her­ald.com @TawanaRobert­sNH on Twit­ter

“Simmie is an amaz­ing driv­ing pony and has been a fa­vorite of fair go­ers for 30 years. ” — Pam Hess, who owns Simmie with her hus­band

Simmie may not be com­pet­ing at The Great Geauga County Fair this year, but he will still be the cen­ter of at­ten­tion.

This is the Haflinger’s 30th con­sec­u­tive year show­ing at the fair. A Haflinger is a smaller breed of horse that is of­ten the size of a pony.

Simmie was born in 1986, and Cur­tis Hess pur­chased him in 1987, when he was first show­cased at the fair as a year­ling.

Cur­tis’s wife Pam, who is the dean of equine stud­ies at Lake Erie Col­lege, said he is a leg­end at the fair.

“Simmie is an amaz­ing driv­ing pony and has been a fa­vorite of fair go­ers for 30 years,” she said. “Last year, we of­fi­cially re­tired Simmie and it was his

last year show­ing in hitch classes, but he will come to fair this year to greet fair go­ers and en­joy the fair from his box stall at the front of our pony tent.”

He has shown in all of the hitch classes in­clud­ing sin­gle cart, tan­dem, team, uni­corn, four-pony hitch and six-pony hitch. He was also tal­ented in the Team Ob­sta­cle class and won many rib­bons, Pam said.

“This horse doesn’t owe us a day,” she said. “There aren’t many 30-year-old horses around. Peo­ple al­ways ask me be­cause I’m a ve­teri­nar­ian, how long horses should live? I tell them that ‘I ex­pect horses to live to be 20’. Any­thing af­ter 25 is a gift. He re­ally has been very healthy. I can’t re­mem­ber him ever hav­ing a cold or any­thing.”

Cur­tis and Pam said Simmie is still en­er­getic and loves be­ing pet­ted.

The 195th an­nual Great Geauga County Fair opens Aug. 31 at the Geauga Fair­grounds, 14373 N. Cheshire St. in Bur­ton Town­ship.

The Hess fam­ily sub­mit­ted over 30 driv­ing entries and will show­case many of their horses.

Driv­ing horses can be dan­ger­ous and re­quires much skill.

“In driv­ing a horse, a horse has to be per­haps even more re­spon­sive than even rid­ing a horse. When you’re rid­ing a horse, you have your feet and legs to in­flu­ence and di­rect the horse,” she said. “When you’re driv­ing, you’re way back in the cart or car­riage, so the only way you can com­mu­ni­cate with the horse is through your reins in your hands, your voice and you carry a whip, which is used not to spank the horse but to gen­tly di­rect them. Those are called the three aids of driv­ing. You also need good horses that are sen­si­ble and safe.”

In ad­di­tion to driv­ing horses, Cur­tis even de­signs and builds the car­riages.

“He makes show wag­ons and sin­gle carts,” Pam said. “Ac­tu­ally he made the wagon and two carts that we will be show­ing at fair.”

Ex­hibit­ing an­i­mals at the fair is a great way to ed­u­cate the pub­lic.

“Ev­ery­one comes up and ask all kinds of ques­tions,” Cur­tis said. “A lot of peo­ple don’t know much about horses.”

The pony tent gives Cur­tis and Pam an op­por­tu­nity to an­swer ques­tions and share in­for­ma­tion about a topic that they are both very pas­sion­ate about.

While they will con­tinue to com­pete and show horses, they said this will most likely be Simmie’s last year com­ing to the fair.

TAWANA ROBERTS — THE NEWS-HER­ALD

Lake Erie Col­lege School of Equine Stud­ies Dean Pam Hess in­ter­acts with pet horse Simmie on Aug. 28 in Clar­i­don Town­ship. This is Simmie’s 30th con­sec­u­tive year show­ing at the Great Geauga County Fair. More on the fair on Page 3.

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