MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Horse Park started as a little spark in the hearts of a few horse lovers. Land was secured on Thayer Road and the work began. A big part of the early years was cleaning the area and making trails.
According to Ken Niner, a long-time horse park club member, the arena was started in April of 2001. He continued to say that 150 tons of sand was put in the arena a couple of years ago, making the base ideal for the shows that are on the schedule now and in the future. The parking lot has been improved making it convenient for both cars and horse trailers.
There have been many shows at the horse park including a driving day, numerous fun shows, cowboy/cowgirl challenges and The Buffalo Bill Show with Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley showing off their riding skills. In the mix of horseback riders were pony carts, a covered wagon, and a stagecoach.
The horse park has now added a dressage show to its events. Saturday was the second show of this type. Valley View Farm, with the help of sponsors Holmes Tire and Leve-Agri, organized a dressage and jump competition. Riders came from Columbus, Bucyrus, Canal Winchester, Middletown and Frazeysburg to compete.
Sarah Auchard and her family operate Valley View Farm. Sarah has been riding horses since she was 4 years old. She has had 20-plus years of professional experience both competing and training.
Saturday’s show started at 8 a.m. with riders going into the arena to be tested. Karla Forrer, “L” Judge USDF, from Wooster, Ohio called out the number and the maneuver to be executed by the horse and rider. These numbers correspond to a position in the arena. As the two reach the number and carry out the movement the judge tells the rider how to make improvements. Scoring ranges from 0 to 10 with 10 being the best. Sarah says that 6 is a very good score.
Sarah’s daughters, Audrey and Amelia, competed in dressage and jumping. Audrey’s horse was Sabre while Amelia was riding Merlin, who likes to smile for people.
Amelia said that her mother told her when Merlin smiles he is really performing the Fleming Reaction. This is when a horse curls up his nose and is actually trying to keep the odor in his nose longer. Amelia went on to say that she thinks Merlin just likes smiling.
Kierra White from Danville was riding Scooby, a pretty little paint pony. She said that Scooby really enjoys jumping. Sarah says that any horse can do dressage but when the movements get harder some horses just can’t keep up. Traditionally Thoroughbreds are considered contenders for the more advanced classes.
Julia Mazzarella was riding a big Thoroughbred, looking quite impressive in her black riding jacket.
Winners in Saturday’s competition were:
Dressage (Introductory Level Test C) — 1. Julia Mazzarella (Nine Lives) 62.750 percent. Other participants: Chloe Kaple (Contrary Motion) and Holly Kaple (SAS Ima Heartbreaker).
Greenie Division — 1. Breanna Popplewell (Chaser) 40.313percent; 2. Kierra White (Scooby) 42.188 percent; and 3. Abigail Balasabas (Papaya) 49.250 percent.
Puddle Jumper Division — 1. Amelia Auchard (All Out Smiles) 36.563percent; 2. Lakelyn Parnell (Buster) 41.500percent; 3. Lauren McCuen (La na Del Bay) 41.563percent; 4. Kierra White (Scooby) 42.188 percent; 5. Nikki Roshon (Monte) 42.438 percent; 6. Audrey Auchard (Sabre) 44.313 percent; and 7. Carrie Dotson (Nova) 46.563 percent.
Maiden Division — 1. Tara Williamson (N’Pressive) 30.500 percent; and 2. Lauren McCuen (Lana Del Bay) 37.500 percent.
Beginner Novice Division — 1. Julia Mazzarella (Nine Lives) 33.611 percent.
The next Dressage/Jumping Show is scheduled for August 17 at 8 a.m. The public is invited, and there is no charge for spectators. The horse park 7360 Thayer Road, Mount Vernon.