Students showcase riding talent horse show

Special to the Fort Mill TimesApril 24, 2013 

  • High point results English: first place, Hannah Biggers; second place, Skylar Conar Western: first place, Amber Tichenor; second place, Kathy Knorzer Gaited horse: first place, Bryan Rowe; second place, Theresa Higgins Game classes: first place, Kaylissa Riley; second place, Billy Jean Burch

— For sisters Talia and Kaylie Brooks, Saturday was a chance to make their mother proud.

The second annual spring horse show was held Saturday at the Anne Springs Close Greenway. The show was a chance for students and other riders to showcase their talent, said Gail Knapp, who has worked with Greenway since it opened in 1995. “It’s a fun show designed for beginner riders to teach them how to compete in a non-threatening way,” she said.

Talia Brooks, 11, placed first in the Hunter Hack youth class. “It felt really good (to win),” Brooks said.

Kaylie, 14, placed first against her sister in the rider never won class while their mother, Marissa Brooks watched from the sidelines. “I’m so proud,” Marissa said.

The spring season is a busy one for the Greenway, said Buddy Faile, director of operations. “(Greenway) brings together recreation, education and the outdoors,” he said. “There’s something for everyone to do out here.”

The competitors range in age from 3 to the 80s, Leslie Cooper said. Cooper has worked with Greenway for more than 10 years.

Saturday’s competition involved 35 riders from the Greenway and more from the community. “It’s a comrade with the students at the barn,” she said.

The Greenway students started training a month ago, riding instructor Dana Berger said. Berger, 22, said the students take the competition seriously, but have fun. “Showing is completely different from a lesson,” she said. “Someone is watching their every move.”

The pressure didn’t seem to get to Sam Hilton, 13. “I’d rather be here than anywhere else,” he said. “Horses are my life.”

Hilton said he usually rides Whiskey, a horse he said many others do not ride. “I love riding him,” Hilton said.

Emily Gray, 19, placed second in the Hunter Hack class. “Seeing the horses progress and doing well makes it all worth it,” she said. Gray rode Sampson, a horse new to the world of competition.

For private lesson instructor Kaylissa Riley, 20, teaching is a reminder of her own childhood. Riley began taking lessons at Greenway when she was 9 and began working there at 16. “I want my kids to enjoy being around horses all day,” she said. “I love seeing how much they improve.”

Riders from the Fleet Equestrian Center also participated. Margaret Fleet started the Equestrian Center in 2005 after teaching at Greenway for years.

Fleet brought five students ages 12 to 13 and four horses to the show. For most, this is their first show. “It’s an experience for the horses and kids who have never been out to a show,” Fleet said.

The Greenway holds a horse show each fall and added the spring show last year, Faile said. “There was such a demand for it on Greenway,” he said.

Anne Springs Close also competed in Saturday’s show and placed fourth in the Spotted Walking class. “I just do it for fun,” she said.

Close said the show is mainly for the students. “If enough want to do it, we will do it,” she said. “We hope people will get out on the Greenway.”

Proceeds from Saturday’s show went to the Greenway.

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