Street Talk visits the Central Vermont Horse Festival

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Casey Bellerose, North Ferrisburg

RH: Tell me about Piper. You’ve had her since she was three.

CB: Yes, since she was 3 years old. She’s nine now. I got her as she was, just a trail horse, and I’ve brought her up to now being a show horse. We do on average at least 20 shows every summer. Every weekend is pretty much spent showing through the summer. We travel to New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont now. I’ve done a show in Maine. So basically all over New England.

RH: She was totally responsive to everything you were doing. When you stepped up, she stepped up. She didn’t even have to think about it.

CB: We’re pretty much in sync.

RH: What was that category called?

CB: That was a hunt horse and hand.

RH: And you won first place.

CB: Yes. We take a lot of blue ribbons home usually. I’m going to be here all day (Saturday). I’ll be going to Champlain Valley tomorrow. Most of my weekends are shows, whether it’s an all-weekend show, which usually will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes it’s just one-weekend shows, sometimes it’s like this when I show in one spot, travel to the next spot for the next day.

Hailey Hults, Benson

This is not my horse. This is my cousin’s horse.

RH: He seems to be pretty responsive to you.

HH: Yes, he’s a very good boy.

RH: I see you’ve got first place (in this class), the blue ribbon there. Hold it up, let me see it. There it is! So what did you and your horse do to win this ribbon?

HH: We went into a ranch class, which is based on a horse that has, like, agility, can, like, go work cows and do stuff like that, and he’s just built like that, bulky and muscular, so he place higher.

Lindsay Markowski, Sudbury

RH: Tell me about your horse.

LM: His name is Spanish Evade. My family bought him in Nebraska when he was a year old. When he was three, he started showing. He won a lot of classes on the quarter-horse circuit. He earned his register of merit for three classes, and then eight years ago, he won two world-championship titles. He has sired horses that have qualified for the American Quarter Horse Association World Show, which is held in Oklahoma City. He has a lot of successful foals with a limited foal crop.

RH: Does he like to show?

LM: He does like to show, but he liked to be retired, too.

Candee Flanders, Mount Holly

RH: Candee, tell me something about your horses. You’ve kept horses for six years. What have you learned about the nature of horses in relationship to people?

CF: They are absolutely therapeutic. They are an amazing animal — they give you confidence, they teach you responsibility, they teach you empathy. They just regulate and teach you all kinds of stuff. ... They are just calming, so they really allow you to get to the core of yourself. That’s how I experience them.

RH: When you say that they’re calming, physically how do they do that?

CF: They know when you’re sad and when you’re upset. My personal horse will come up to me and just nudge me, and he won’t leave me alone if I’m having a bad day.

Julia Adams, Shrewsbury

We’re here at the Central Vermont Horse Festival. This is the first show that we’ve had of this kind since the fair. I’ll be judging the trail classes of the horse show over here in the infield later on once the in-hand classes get done.

RH: As a judge, what do you look for?

JA: So in the trail classes that I’m specifically judging today, we’re looking for horses and riders to maneuver through different obstacles that they might find out of the trail. Some of them, or most of them, are now man-made items that are out there, so they need to be able to weave through cones, cross a bridge, be able to pick up items, dismount, ground-tie your horse — so there’s a bunch of different maneuvers they have to do in a pattern.

RH: This was the halter class, and some of the horses are more responsive to their handlers than others, and I guess that’s what you look for. And you were talking about conformation in this class.

JA: Yes. So halter classes are judged not so much on manners, but on conformation of the horse themselves and what they’re built for. This class that’s in the arena right now are ranch class, so you’re looking for a horse that has some body and some substance that’s pretty stocky, has a good build and looks like it has good stamina to go out and work on a ranch or on a farm most of the day so they can go out and work cows, you know, herding, cutting, that kind of thing.

Jacky Marston, Castleton

RH: Jacky, tell me how all this came together this summer.

JM: Andrea Hathaway Miglorie, really, it was her brainchild, she and some other people had been thinking we ought to do something with the fair for quite awhile. The (previous) horse facilities had really declined. She’s on the Rutland Agricultural Society board, and, basically, by cajoling people and networking with her horse friends and some other people got some energy together. I think it was Monday nights, Thursday nights were were volunteer nights to take the barns apart and then eventually put it back together. I think the teardown was actually worse than putting it back together. She got the Rutland Vo-Tech kids to built that announcer’s booth there. She got Markowski Excavating and Miglorie Excavating — had a lot to do with this new ring. This is all new, this ring.

Harley Stocker, Castleton

We came to show ... mostly pleasure, so I’ll be showing Western Pleasure because that’s what (Archie’s) bred for, and then I put him in some of the Hunt-Seat Pleasure classes as well.

RH: And what are the judges looking for?

HS: For Pleasure Class, they’re looking for a horse that is a pleasure to ride, so a horse that is slow and stays collected, and makes it look easy. So that’s what we’re going for.

RH: Is Archie a pleasure to ride?

HS: He is a pleasure to ride most days.

RH: Let me see your ribbon. Hold it up. There it is — you guys are winners.

HS: So far!

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