Horses big and small, fast and slow, and closely related equine types such as donkeys and mules will share stables and spotlights in the Cavalcade of Horses exhibition during the L.A. County Fair, which runs September 5 – 28.
The Fair kicks off with the American West Barrel Race and Polebending Competition from Friday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 7, when the arena becomes more like an Old West roundup. The opening day show, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., will feature demonstrations of horse gymkhana games, a Cowgirl Way performing horse team from Norco and the Cowboy Action Shooters from Acton followed by an Extreme Cowboy Obstacle Racing from 5 to 10 p.m. Barrel racing is the main focus on Saturday and Sunday. Precision as well as timing are factors for determining the winner, while horses and riders are judged for speed and agility around obstacles, including water crossings and challenging twists and turns.
Horsemanship with youth equestrian drill teams in synchronized presentations and flag carrying will be shown in the Junior Equestrian Drill Team Show on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 2, 6 and 8 p.m. A true American breed will take the spotlight during The California Saddlebred Futurity Show slated for Thursday, Sept. 11 through Saturday, Sept. 13. Though a flashy horse to look at, it was developed during the pioneer days for its transportation benefit offering the rider a smooth and comfortable ride over long distances. Thus most of the judging events for this breed are pleasure classes and include English and Western country pleasure driving and in hand. Their five-gaited and three gaited skills are also considered in several divisions.
Sunday, Sept. 14 a special presentation of the American Saddlebred featuring the Scripps’ Miramar Silver Mounted Group will be held at 1 p.m. Included will be silver saddle mounted drill team carrying the American flag while showing different aspects and talents of the breed under saddle and in costume. The public will have the opportunity to get up close and personal to pet and ask questions about the Saddlebred.
One of the draft breeds will be featured exclusively in a presentation called an “Evening with the Friesian Horse” Wednesday, Sept. 17 and Thursday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. Along with its beautiful shiny black coat and feathering of its mane and tail this Dutch breed is particularly noted for its powerful, high-stepping gait.
The neighboring Cal Poly Pomona will present a special exhibition of Arabian horses from the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center Wednesday, Sept. 17, and Thursday, Sept. 18, at 2 p.m. The Horse Center originated in 1925, when it was built by the late W. K. Kellogg, founder of the Kellogg Cereal Company of Battle Creek, Michigan. It was donated to the state of California in 1949 with the understanding that it be used for education purposes and continuance of the Arabian horse show program offered to the public year round. The center is now home to nearly 85 purebred Arabian horses used in equine science teachings, research and international breeding and training programs.
Now one of the most prominent breeds in America, the Arabians’ incredible energy, beauty, intelligence and gentle disposition is at the heart of this spectacular one-day show. Young equestrians, ages 9 to 18, show off their English and Western riding skills during the 4-H Equestrian Drill Team show Friday, Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. and the South Sectional 4-H and FFA Horse Show Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21.
The bastion of all the Fair’s horse events is the International Draft, Horse, Mule and Pleasure Driving Show (including Hackney and Roadster ponies) slated for Sept. 24 – 28, which has been held for more than 25 years. Though at the tail end of the Fair run, it is the crescendo event of the series.
Highlighting the show, due to their overwhelming popularity, is the Gypsy Horse, which made its debut at last year’s Fair. This year more classes have been added, which translates into more flash than ever. Most recognizable by heavy feathering on their legs and long flowing manes and tails, the Gypsy Horses are a small draft horse in comparison to the other breeds, standing between 13 to 15 hands. The breed, which are quite rare in North American, numbering under 2,000 according to registries, gets the name from the gypsy people who for nearly 100 years have bred and used the colorful horses to pull ornately decorated carts and living wagons through the country lanes of England and Ireland.
“They are absolutely a beautiful breed. They are such a new breed to the United States there aren’t a lot of places that have shows for them, wh