Beginner-friendly event promotes competition and fellowship among participants
Young riders had the opportunity to show their horses in a first-class, nationally known facility last month at the Saddle Up Youth Horse Show. The event, held at The Iowa Equestrian Center at Kirkwood Community College, was September 13-15.
The horse show was part of the first Saddle Up Youth Days, a weekend-long event designed to give younger riders a chance to compete in a variety of contests as well as other games and events.
“Most of our events are very competitive and that can be both intimidating and discouraging to young riders,” said Center Coordinator Liz Lindner. “We put a lot of emphasis on fun at this event. The goal was to create an event where kids could have fun, learn and want to come back for more. One local trainer said it was an excellent mid-show for her kids, so I think we achieved what we set out to accomplish.”
In addition to the horse-related activities through the weekend, Saddle Up Youth Days also included free, non-horse related games for all kids in attendance. This gave the youth who were spectators an opportunity to get involved in the fun as well.
“It was one of the nicest shows for kids I’ve ever been to,” said Jerry Bishop who attended the event. “It was well organized, the prizes were more than expected, and the kids had a blast. I liked the wacky games that the kids played. We need more shows like this for kids. It gave them the ability to win in classes that adults normally would have won in other shows. I would highly recommend this show to others.”
Saddle Up Horse Days gives the Iowa Equestrian Center at Kirkwood the chance to showcase the top-notch facility and give the kids involved a stepping-stone to the next level of equestrian activity. Director of Equine Operations and Events, Patrick Klatt stressed the importance of exposing young riders to the center.
“Before the event we got an email from a mother saying how excited her daughter was for the show,” said Klatt. “It was her first time competing at Kirkwood after years in the stands. Normally, these kids would not have an opportunity to show at a facility like this. In addition, while they’re here they can learn about Kirkwood Community College, the Iowa Equestrian Center and the Horse Science program. Just as Kirkwood prides itself as the community’s college, we are the community’s equestrian facility.”
For more information on the Saddle Up Youth Days, as well as the Iowa Equestrian Center, visit www.iowaequestrian.com.