By Marcella Peyre-Ferry
The 66th annual Ludwig's Corner Horse Show and Country Fair had its biggest turnout of entrants in recent years this Labor Day weekend. Junior Riders were the focus of the show on Saturday, Sept. 5, with Beginner, Novice, Young Rider, Leadline, Short Stirrup and Shortest Stirrup divisions offered.
Juniors were also featured Sunday in Hunters and Equitation, along with Amateur Hunters, equitation and beginner adult divisions. The featured class of the day was the $1,000 Hunter Classic, won by Debbie King on Ironic. She just barely beat her younger brother Doug King, who finished in second place with River Rhine. "He's my baby brother and also my trainer," said Debbie who was very pleased with how well Ironic went for her. "He was sensational. I thought he had an outstanding jumping round."
King, of Atglen, PA, is originally from Malvern, and has been competing at Ludwig's Corner for 52 years. King was also Reserve Champion in the Adult Amateur Hunter Division, and her performance in the classic also earned King the Valley Hill Farm Perpetual Trophy for the highest placed adult rider of the show.
Third in the Classic and champion in the Baby Green Hunter Division was John Muldoon on Lagerfeld. Muldoon also was kept busy as a trainer, with several of his students earning ribbons and championships of their own.
Muldoon's 12-year-old student Courtney Butz of Berwyn won the Large Children's Pony Hunter Championship on her pony The Whole Enchilada. Courtney won the pleasure pony championship at Ludwig's Corner last year. "He was really good," Courtney said.
Another of Muldoon's winning students was Sandy Hendrickson, who was the champion in the Adult Beginners Division on her horse Bear It All. Hendrickson had ridden casually as a child, but started riding seriously last year. "I absolutely adore horses and I always wanted to learn English, but I never had the time," she said. "I'm the luckiest person in the world -- I found a great barn, I found a great horse, and I found a great trainer."
Range of Classes
The variety of classes offered at Ludwig's Corner makes it possible for riders to get experience in a wide range of classes. "I really like this show. I usually do rated shows, but here I can do a lot more," said Shannon Hogue of Downingtown, PA, who won the CCHSA Pony Medal class on China Doll, plus the Reserve Championship in Children's Hunter. Shannon also earned a blue ribbon in the Hunt Team class with her friends Madison Pan-Kita and Ashley Bent. "I normally do Children's Hunter Pony, but I like equitation though. They have more fun courses than hunters. I like a change."
The weekend finished out with Low, Green, Baby Green and Children's Hunters as well as the featured $100 LCHSA Jumper Class, the $1,000 Child/Adult Jumper Classic and the $7,500 Jumper Classic, which was won by R. W. Tull on Artful Dodger.
The Ludwig's Corner Horse show holds onto Chester County traditions grown from the hunt field. That includes the popular Hunt Team and Family classes. Also a crowd favorite was the display of carriages assembled in the main ring before the horse drawn vehicles headed out on a pleasure drive to Chester Springs.
Two special awards were given to the carriage drivers, one to Melanie McCartney for sportsmanship, and a concourse d'elegance award to David Dively.
The Ludwig's Corner Horse Show and Country Fair is the main fund raiser for the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show Association, which maintains the 33 acres of open space for equestrians and community use.