• By John McGary Woodford Sun Editor

Saddlebred Show brings hundreds to county fairgrounds

There was no Woodford County Fair this year, but the annual Saddlebred Show, delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, took place last Saturday, Aug. 8 at the county park. The event was broken into morning/afternoon and afternoon/evening sessions, with a total of more than 150 entries, according to show chair Melissa Moore of Sunrise Stables. Moore, who grew up showing horses at the county fairgrounds, said she was grateful that county leaders allowed the event, which raises money for the fair association, to take place. “It’s an important goal of mine every year to do it – it was just kind of difficult this year,” Moore said after the event. On the way into the fairgrounds, a masked volunteer handed out forms explaining the pandemic-related rules in place for contestants and visitors. The forms were then turned in to assist with contact tracing, should someone later test positive for the coronavirus. One of the contestants for the second session was Melissa Sharkey, who came from Fishers, Ind. with her daughter Brianna. On the way they picked up Calloway’s Blues Player, an American Saddlebred they keep at Debonair Stables in Upton, Ky. Melissa Sharkey said she began showing horses when she was 10 years old, and when she decided to get back in the game, intended to pass the reins on to Brianna. “Twelve years ago now, I wanted to get her into it, but I was too jealous and couldn’t resist myself, and so we started riding again and started showing,” she said. Every few weeks, they drive down from their home near Indianapolis to ride. Melissa said the Country Pleasure class she would compete in consists of a flatfoot walk, canter, trot, and halt – in both directions. “Good manners are important. They should be an exhibit of a pleasure to ride. And that’s what we are doing,” she said. Thirty or so yards away, Alyssa Curry of Burlington was suited up for a ride aboard her Hackney pony, “Heartland After Midnight.” They’d be traveling at three speeds, she said. “You jog and then you go a little bit faster, at a road gait, then you reverse and go the other way, and then you do a jog – a little bit faster road gait – and then faster than that speed. So, jog, road gait and speed,” Curry said. Curry said she’d been riding her entire life and the week before had competed in a Shelby County show. Lots of events had been delayed, she said, but the World’s Championship Horse Show will still take place Aug. 20-30 at the state fairgrounds in Louisville. Asked why she rode and competed, Curry replied, “It’s fun. The personalities are really fun to work with.” Asked if she was referring to horses or people, she laughed and said, “The ponies. The horses I have with trainers, and the ponies, I keep at my house.”

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