NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – The first competitor in the prestigious 30th Annual Spring Horse Show at North Salem’s Old Salem Farm trotted into the ring at 8 a.m. on May 8 and the action has been practically non-stop ever since.
Roughly 800 elite equines arrived in town, along with their trainers, grooms, owners and riders to complete in one of the top 25 horse shows in North America.
Show representative Violet Forbes said, “We have the highest levels of horses and riders here, including several Olympians, and even some from Canada, Venezuela and Argentina. We’ve also got the best and brightest of the up-and-coming. Everyone here has Olympic goals in mind.”
“Riding is one of the only sports where another living creature has to help you,” Forbes continued. “It’s not at all mechanized. You and the horse have to be spot-on to win.”
The youngest competitors at the show ride at lead-line level. That is, riders under seven years of age are judged on manners, suitability to their mounts and the position they maintain as their ponies are led around on a line. Ribbons are awarded.
At the other end of the spectrum, world-famous riders like Mclain Ward, Leslie Howard and Peter Leone, all with Olympic experience, will be competing for prizes ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The winner of the Empire State Grand Prix, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, will receive a cash award of $75,000.
Old Salem Farm has three indoor arenas and five outdoor arenas, and events are going on in several at the same time. In between riding rings, there are dozens of booths where vendors of everything horse-related are selling their wares.
Proceeds from the show benefit the not-for-profit Old Salem Farm Foundation, whose chosen charities this year are the ASPCA, JustWorldInternational, Pegasus Therapeutic Riding and the Voss Foundation.
“Everyone is welcome to come on it and see what we’re doing,” said Forbes. There is no admission charge, but there is a parking fee of $20.
Old Salem Farm is at 190 June Road, North Salem. For further information, call (914)- 669-5610.