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Youngsters 'horse around' at equestrian fun event

July 25, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

BOONSBORO

karenh@herald-mail.com

Rebecca Shatzer, 8, of Clear Spring, rode in on a horse of a different color during a competition at Blue Ridge Riding Club near Boonsboro.

She rode out a blue-ribbon equestrian.

The stick-horse specialist bobbed and weaved her way around barrels and across the track straightaway Sunday to take home some recognition for her steed, Princess Butterfly, a pink hobby horse with a pastel yarn mane.

The event was one of dozens of silly contests for children of all ages and horses of all types - even the ones with stuffed heads and stick bodies - during a fun show to raise money for Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

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Event organizer Norm Madison, the riding club vice president, said shortly after the event started about 10 a.m. that owners and riders registered about 25 horses for the fun show. Half of the proceeds from contest entry fees would go to the hospital, Madison said.

According to Madison, the event was the club's first fundraiser.

His son was hospitalized at the medical center for eight days after being kicked by a horse about a year ago. Now 4, the boy is fine and still loves horsin' around, said Madison, of Falling Waters, W.Va.

"That's what I say - it's a miracle," Madison said.

A horse owner for 17 years, Madison said he did not want to keep the animal that hurt his son. The boy, however, had other thoughts.

"In fact, I was getting ready to get rid of the horse, and he said it wasn't going nowhere. He wanted it to come to the hospital with him," Madison said.

Seventeen-year-old Samantha Elliott, of Boonsboro, probably could understand that devotion. She sat on the ground near a horse trailer, the big, sleepy mahogany eyes of 11-year-old Blaze staring right back at her.

"Sometimes I think I can talk to the horse more than anybody. They're just a lot of fun to be around," Samantha said.

Blaze, a laid-back brown appaloosa and Arabian horse, communicated a serene friendliness, nudging at strangers and a little white goat. The horse's newfound four-legged companion was oblivious to its planned fate - a goat-tying competition was scheduled toward the end of a day full of laugh-inducing sights.

Samantha said she was surprised Blaze made such quick friends with the enterprising goat, which spent much of the morning stealing hay from bags hanging from the trailer.

"She hates cats. I thought she'd hate the goat, but apparently, she likes it," Samantha said.

While the goats would be hog-tied, some of the participants in the stick-horse races were tongue-tied.

Rebecca, who wore a shirt with butterflies and flowers, was not shy when it came to explaining her horse's special name.

"Because my daddy calls me 'Princess,' and I like butterflies," she explained.

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