MOUNT VERNON — Equine English is one of the easiest competitions to spot from far across the Knox County Fairgrounds, featuring as it does distinctive square saddles on the horses, and riders in formal suits and riding helmets. It is a style of riding and maneuvering that requires hours of dedicated work.
For 11-year-old Destiny Clagg, it takes about four or five hours of riding practice per day, five or six days a week. But even though she beat several older girls to take first place in one of the heats during the Equine English Show, held Wednesday at the fair, her main delight was in her technique.
“I love the jumping,” Clagg said as she sat atop her horse, Yours Truly Odyssey, holding a trophy.
Clagg hopes to go to a world competition next year.
Ashleigh Moran of Martinsburg, in her first year of English competition, was excited by the preparation and training she had to go through with her horse, Miz Hollywood Conceit, although noise and distractions can make it difficult for the horse to concentrate on the rider’s commands. To soothe the horse, Moran gives her a little special attention.
“I give her a bath to make her feel good,” Moran said.
Heather Fredenburg of Mount Vernon is in her ninth year of riding in 4-H, although she has been riding even longer on her own. She said working with postures was one of the different and challenging things about English riding, but that her favorite thing was working closely and bonding with her horse, Sonny de Bret.
Although the horses all have formal registry names, most riders give them more personal nicknames, too. Mackenzie Caxton calls her horse Rufus for short, and enjoys riding both at home and with 4-H. She was quick to note what she likes most about English.
“It’s fun, because you get to go a little faster,” she said.
A complete list of Junior Fair winners will appear in the results tab in the Aug. 5 edition of the News.