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Things are a-buzzin’ north of Ava this week as the Three-Year-Old Futurity, Spring Show and Youth Seminar are officially under way.
The 32nd annual show began on Tuesday with the National Youth Seminar, and the exhibition of classes began Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock in the versatility arena.
An added feature to the Youth Seminar this year were demonstrations by trick horse trainer Suzanne De Laurentis, of Texas.
Sue is co-founder of Imagine A Horse, an exciting blend of modern and classical horsemanship. Her workshops on Tuesday emphasized showing respect for the horse, rewarding each effort and refraining from punishment for mistakes.
Trail rides also began on Tuesday morning and a different ride will be held each day through Friday. Each day’s ride will originate at the association show grounds at 9 a.m., with a team of trail bosses to lead each ride.
On Tuesday riders went around the MFTHBA grounds and on Wednesday they rode at Crystal Lake. Today they will ride at Potter’s Field on the Glade Top Trail and on Friday the ride will go to Brown’s Cave on the Assumption Abbey property southeast of Ava.
Riders will need to bring a sack lunch each day and health papers will be required for each horse to get back on the property at the conclusion of the ride.
Horses will be trailered to the starting point of the trail ride.
Versatility classes will show each morning beginning at 10 a.m. and evening shows will be held in the main arena beginning at 6:30 each night.
The final three classes on Saturday night will be the Futurity championship events in open amateur, amateur owned and trained, and the open 3-Year-Old Futurity.
These classes will each feature the top 10 horses from their respective classes in the Thursday night show.
A total of 97 3-year-olds were paid up and eligible to enter the Futurity, according to Donna Watson, show coordinator.
While the versatility classes are a lot of fun for both the participants and the spectators, those taking part in the versatility classes throughout the week are also working to earn points.
High point awards will be given in three divisions: Youth and open versatility, versatility ranch horse champion, and youth high point awards in performance and model.
Show officials will be implementing strict precautions at this year’s Spring Show because of a recent outbreak of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy – or EHV-1 – in Utah. Horses in some nine states have been confirmed to have the virus although no cases have been seen in Missouri as of last week.
The MFTHBA has been working closely with USDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, and will require up-to-date health papers on all horses entering the grounds this week.
Missouri Fox Trotters originated in Missouri as ranch horses bred for smooth riding gaits as well as stamina for mountain riding and heavy ranch and farm work. They are known for versatile athleticism, the naturally smooth flat walk and the fox trot gaits, and an endearing, trainable personality.
Since 1948 the MFTHBA has worked to promote the Fox Trotter gaited horse and support a registry for horses that meet the breed standards of gait and conformation.
There have been more than 96,000 registered Fox Trotters since the breed was formed in 1948 at Ava, Missouri, where the world headquarters of the breed remains.