The 69th annual edition of the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show and Country Fair was subdued by the heavy rains of Labor Day weekend, but the spirits of the competitors, spectators and volunteers who braved the weather stayed high.
Winning the featured $7,500 mini-prix on Labor Day, Sept. 3, was Cian McDermott on Glenwood Stables’ Scarpazza. Just four horses went clean in the first round under cloudy skies and misting rain. As the jump-off round began, the rain turned heavy, forcing the riders to cope with even sloppier conditions. Scarpazza was the only one of the returning entries to make it clear through the shortened round to earn the win.
At the top of the four fault rides in the mini-prix was Ariba, owned, trained and ridden by Wilhelmina Horzepa, placing fifth. Ariba was the winner earlier in the day in the $100 Ludwigs Corner Horse Show Association Jumper Class.
The three-day show started with a good weather day on Sat. Sept 1, with some of the oldest and youngest riders in leadline, short stirrup and Jack Benny divisions as well as young riders, beginners, novice and adult classes.
Rain came in for Sunday’s classes, including equitation, children’s, pleasure and adult amateur divisions. The show concluded Labor Day with low, green, and baby green hunters as well as the jumper classes.
Winning the Leading Trainer Award for the weekend was Nancy Ligon of Firefly Farm in Glenmoore, PA. “We had about thirteen students here all three days,” she said, adding that her students ranged from age seven to adult amateur, and were entered in hunter, jumper and equitation divisions. “Everybody did really well. It was a good year for everybody. We support the show grounds a lot. It’s one of our favorite shows of the year.”
Threatened Earlier in Year
Just the fact that the event was able to go on this year was important to the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Association and the community. Earlier this year, it appeared that the end of the venerable event was in sight as West Vincent Township Supervisors voted to take the 33-acre show grounds by eminent domain to be used as open space, ball fields and walking paths.
An outraged community protested loudly with rallies and threatened legal action. More than horsemen opposed the township, with local residents, politicians and others coming to the horse show association’s support, and the township took another vote, backing away from taking the property.
Rachel Tennyson Gallagher lives near the show grounds and is glad to have the event remain in place. “We were there every step of the way, fighting for Ludwig’s to stay here. We are overwhelmed with excitement that it’s staying,” she said. “This is like Devon for a lot of riders.”
Tennyson Gallagher was one of several riders who earned multiple championships at Ludwig’s Corner this year. She collected both the Low Hunter and Chester County Hunter championships on her newest horse, Capital Blue. “This is my first year showing him and I absolutely love him,” she said.
A junior rider who earned multiple tricolors was 12-year-old Rebecca Oliver who took the Low Children’s Hunter Pony Championship and Green Pony Hunter Reserve Championship on her pony Kudos. “Her pony was fabulous today,” Rebecca’s mother said. “It’s a very prestigious show. I think there’s a lot of talent here and the kids should feel very lucky to be at a show such as this.”
In recent years, proceeds from the annual Horse Show and Country Fair had been used by the association to make improvements to the grounds and pay off the mortgage on the property. This year, the group went back to greater involvement with the community that supported them so strongly. A portion of the proceeds from the 2012 edition of the horse show will go to benefit the Ludwig’s Corner Fire Company, and Horse Power for Life – a non profit organization providing riding experiences for cancer patients and their family members.
Horse Power for Life co-founder and President Shiree Radie was also a participant in the horse show, taking the championship in the Jack Benny Division on her horse Bobby McGee, and taking her 3-year-old daughter in lead line for the first time. “I think it was a great event. It seems like people were having a great time,” she said. “We’re very honored to be chosen as a beneficiary.”