Liberty County riders combined to claim 23 blue ribbons from 39 classes of competition Oct. 19 during Bluff Creek Stables Fall Classic on Colonels Island.
“We had more spectators at this show this year than years before,” said Mary Anne Jones, owner of Bluff Creek Stables in Midway. “We had many exhibitors who had family members fly in from all over the country to enjoy the show and stay for the weekend.”
For the annual show’s 10th anniversary, four riders emerged as the big overall winners. Emily Perry of Bluff Creek Stables won top honors in four classes including the walk trot hunt seat championship. Stablemates Sara Kate Garrett and Katy Maier, as well as Katie Pearson of Dixie Stables, garnered first place in three different classes.
Garret, riding Wild Lolita, won the walk trot canter championship in the academy division, while Katy Maier, riding Jasper a Frisian, won the open hunter pleasure championship. Samantha Hocking of Dixie Stables won the saddle type pleasure non-saddlebred championship, riding Syb Vande Lockshamhoeve.
Pearson of Dixie Stables won both the pleasure equitation championship and the American saddlebred show pleasure championship riding Silk’s Midnight Lily.
Maier, a student at College of Coastal Georgia who began riding at age 5 in Germany, thinks that riding horses “teaches you so much about yourself, and they are just the best listeners.”
“It is exciting to me seeing the number of academy students, whether juveniles or adults that are getting into our sport,” Jones said. “Hopefully, this influx of many new students will mean they will all stick with it and go on to compete in the performance division. To me, that spells success and a renewal of interest in our sport.”
While the show closed out the show season for the local American Saddlebred Horse Association of Georgia barns, all three Liberty County stables — Bluff Creek, Dixie Stables and Gravel Hill Farms — will compete at the annual Georgia Fall Classic on Nov. 23-24 in Perry.