Horse jumping for all ages

Nathan Liewicki
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Annual English Schooling Show attracts plenty of riders

Ashley Jarton has a very strong bond with Yankee, her four-and-a-half year old Arab paint quarter horse.

Ashley Jarton, 19, and Yankee ride through a two-foot, three-inch Hunter Course at the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds Saturday as part of the English Schooling Show. 

“You can’t expect anything from a horse unless you have a strong bond with them,” said Jarton, 19.

Jumping for the past several years, Jarton loves riding horses and participating in competitions.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Moose Jaw Exhibition Grounds hosted the ninth annual English Schooling Show at the Golden Mile Arena. Jarton was one of the participants.

Featuring walk trots, obstacle courses and various levels of show jumping, the show was open to anyone and everyone.

“It’s for all ages, from little kids being led around by mom, just so they can be a part of it, to seniors,” said Bobbi Jo Reeves, show chairman. “It's one of the few sports that you can be involved in with that much of a variety of age division.

“They're all just a bunch of friends.”

Competitors were judged critically on their technique and style throughout the weekend, most notably in the hunter courses.

“Hunter classes are jumping classes that are judged on technique, so it's about the style and the technique of the jump, how straight the horse is, if they are too fast or too slow, fighting the rider's hands, or wobbling in between jumps,” said Reeves.

Despite the cold weather, Reeves was pleased with the turnout at this year’s event. In total, 54 horses were registered, but there were even more riders.

“We've had more participants in the past, but it really depends on the weather and it has been bitterly cold and icy.

“A lot of these people don't have heated indoor arenas to ride in,” Reeves said. “They don't (always) get a chance to ride, so for them it's a nice winter break.”

The competition is designed as a building block for both riders and riders in terms of building themselves up to the next step.

“It's called a schooling show, but it's for training purposes,” said Reeves. “We give competitors plenty of time to warm up and practice so they can do the best they can.

“It's a low-key, low-pressure competition, so that makes it more inviting for training.”

Brooke Brown, 11, was grateful for the chance to compete this past weekend. It was the second year for her competing at the show.

“I’ve been jumping for one-and-a-half years,” Brown said. “It’s just fun and I enjoy being on horses.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

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