The Santa Barbara National Horse Show is trotting back into town next week, featuring a variety of horses and contest categories at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.
The 101st annual show begins Wednesday with multiple events taking place through Saturday. Nearly a dozen breeds of horses will be present at the show to perform in a variety of events, including the traditional harness class and saddle classes.
During the show, horses will be judged in a variety of classes that examine a horse’s gait, trot and jump, among other attributes. Jumping ponies, cart horses and saddle horses are among the vast variety of equines that will be present at next week’s show.
“It’s such an interesting (event) to bring the kids to,” Mindy Smith, the owner and head trainer of Mindy Smith Rockies in Arroyo Grande, told the News-Press. “You could bring your grandma and your younger child and they would all have the best time because there’s just so many things to be able to see.”
This will be Ms. Smith’s eighth year participating in the event at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. She plans to bring a number of Rocky Mountain horses to show at this year’s event, including the horse that won best of show in 2019, named Purdue’s Coal Miner, or “Harry.”
Ms. Smith’s niece, Olive, will be showing Harry in 11 different classes on Friday and Saturday, including the open gaited breed best of show class.
“It’s kind of a proud moment for me as an aunt to take one of my nieces and coach them through the show,” Ms. Smith said.
Cynthia Tippett, a Montecito resident who owns Harry, said she’s looking forward to seeing him in action once again. While Ms. Tippett does not participate in the horse shows, she said she’s happy that equestrians will return to the arena after nearly two years without a show due to the pandemic.
“I actually think (the show) is wonderful for the whole community,” Ms. Tippett told the News-Press. “We’ve all suffered, and I think it’s extremely nice that people can go back to doing what is normal for them.”
“For a lot of people, horse shows are their life,” Ms. Tippett continued. “It’s like the Olympics for them. They work hard all year toward that event, and having that canceled last year must have been devastating for a lot of people. I think it’s great for people who are really into the show scene to be able to go back to shows.”
After almost two years without a horse show due to COVID-19, Ms. Smith said she’s looking forward to participating in next week’s event.
“I think everybody is really excited because last year we were trying to keep (the show) going, but with COVID, we couldn’t make it happen,” Ms. Smith told the News-Press. “Everybody’s pretty pumped to be able to show this year.”
The show will officially kick off next week at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. Admission to the event is free.
For more information, visit earlwarren.com.