Though the L.A. County Fair is well-known for its sport of kings when it comes to horses, there is a separate equine world from the racetrack at the annual Fair. Four major horse shows will be held in several arenas during the 18-day Fair, which runs Sept. 8 – Oct. 1 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays), offering the public the opportunity to see different breeds as well as horsemen and -women performing a variety of riding skills.
A breed that traces its roots to the American Indians, the Pinto, will kick off the slate of events. The Southwest Pinto Horse Club will present the Spotted Classic All Pinto Show on Saturday, Sept. 9 and the Southern California Area Pinto Championship on Sunday, Sept. 10. Both shows begin at 9 a.m. and feature classes for miniature horses including driving, trail, halter and performance skills, English and Western styles, and pleasure divisions.
There are four types of the Pinto, an American breed, including stock horse, hunter, Saddlebred and Arab, all of which will be exhibited during the Fair.
According to Carol Albino, the show’s manager, it is the spots and colors that draw attention to this special breed. With an estimated 60 horses expected, “we will have a nice variety of Pinto horses for the public to see,” Albino said.
More can be learned about Pinto horses at www.southwestpinto.org.
Considered a flashy horse, but one that was developed during the pioneer days for its strength, speed, good temperament and comfortable ride over long distances, the California Saddle Horse Breeders Association will present the California Saddlebred Futurity Horse Show, which showcases another American breed in judging classes from Thursday, Sept. 14, through Sunday, Sept. 17.
The American Saddlebred will be shown in skill divisions for five-gaited, three-gaited, fine harness, show pleasure, show pleasure driving, English and Western country pleasure, country pleasure driving and also in hand. Hackney and Roadster ponies will also be included. Competition is for more than $10,000 in prize money plus an additional $20,000 in the California Futurity classes.
Youngsters ages 9 to 18 take over the arena during the South Sectional 4-H and FFA Horse Show starting Friday, Sept. 22, and continuing through Sunday, Sept. 24. In this event, youth throughout California show off their horses and riding skills in both English and Western classes. Judging gets underway at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Teams of 2,000-pound horses, mules and pleasure driving horses rule as well as shake the equestrian area for the five-day International Draft Horse, Mule and Pleasure Driving Show. This show, which has been a part of the L.A. County Fair for more than 25 years, draws participants from the farming and rural communities of Montana, Idaho and Utah as well as California where draft horses are still used on the farm today for tasks such as plowing, pulling large loads and hauling carts through fields and vineyards to gathering crops at harvesting time.
Competitive classes at the Fair have the six major breeds – Belgian, Clydesdale, Percheron, Friesian, Shire and Suffolk – participating in challenging feats depictive of their work back home. Divisions for pulling country surreys, carts, carriages and other rigs while facing obstacle courses are included for these gentle giants.
“Most people don’t realize that these horses are still active on the farms of today,” said Sharon L. Gifford, horse show manager. “Seeing these horses is mesmerizing. When they walk by you, their size and beauty places you in awe. How can something so huge be so gentle? T