WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Miniature horse shows are growing in popularity compared to their larger counterparts, according to Linda Marsh, president of the All State Miniature Horse and Donkey Club.
“A lot of people in the area have miniature horses and all the big shows are so far away, so we all got together and made a club that is just kind of into itself and starts with fun,” Marsh said.
Based out of Fayetteville, Pa., the club held its annual 2011 show Sunday at the Mountain Valley Riders Club Show Grounds just outside Waynesboro.
Featuring 47 total classes, the fourth-year event drew more than 100 entries, some coming from three or four hours away, Marsh said.
“Right now … I think this is bigger than any of the big horse shows around here,” she said.
Classes are broken down in pee wee (ages 10 and younger), youth (ages 11 t o 18) and adult (19 and older).
The show has grown tremendously since its start in 2008 because the mini horses are easier to take care of and cheaper than larger horses.
They also are great for kids, Marsh said.
“Kids that are afraid of big horses just love the minis,” she said. “Eventually, some of them do get into the big horses, but it teaches them confidence around the horses and it’s a lot less likely for them to get hurt.”
Former club president Jason Warrenfeltz showed horses at the show Sunday, as did his wife, Valerie, and two sons, Austen, 6, and Kelby, 12.
“We’re out here to have fun, but there is some competitiveness that happens,” Warrenfeltz said. “We try to respect everybody and everybody tries to get along as much as possible.”
Valerie’s horse, Lucky Four Spotz Starkeeper, won the supreme halter class.
“Her (horse’s) names are always longer than they are tall,” Warrenfeltz quipped.
Alison Yeager, 14, of Greencastle, Pa., showed in four different classes, including aged gelding, multicolor open, youth hunter and youth jumper.
Her father, Paul Yeager, said they have been members of the club for six years but have owned horses for almost a decade after they attended a show and it piqued their interest.
“It’s fun,” said Alison Yeager, who has been showing horses since she was 5.
“It’s very family-oriented,” Paul Yeager said.
Marsh had nothing but great things to say about the people who participate in the club and attend shows together.
“The people that come to these shows are fantastic,” she said. “We have a good time.”
Another club geared more toward Marylanders, the Mason-Dixon Miniature Horse Association was a byproduct of the success of its Pennsylvania predecessor, Marsh said.
“That’s how good it’s picking up,” she said.
Results from the show will be available on the club’s website, www.allstateminiaturehorseanddonkeyclub.com.