Germantown Horse Fair & Food Truck Festival
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Saturday September 23, 2017 marked an inaugural event for the Germantown Charity Horse Show (GCHS) – and a prelude to the show’s 70th anniversary, coming up June 5-9, 2018. An estimated 800+ people attended the first Germantown Horse Fair and Food Truck Festival, held at the GCHS show grounds in Germantown, Tennessee. There were numerous equestrian exhibits – from show jumping to side saddle, Pony Club, Old West Special Trails Grand Entry Team and Memphis Mounted Patrol to carriage races and Paso Finos. Between demonstrations there was ample opportunity to visit the many vendors and food trucks for dinner.
In preparation for the event, Randy Prince brought his “Drag Queen” arena drag for a demonstration on Friday afternoon at the show grounds. He drove a New Holland tractor provided by Twin Hills Equipment of Byhalia, MS. Find more information about the Drag Queen at: https://www.facebook.com/dragqueenarenadrag/
You might say the first Germantown Horse Fair and Food Truck Festival “went out in a blaze of glory.” The grand finale featured the beautiful ladies of The Dancing Fire troupe literally dancing with rings of fire – and swallowing fire! These professional female fire dancers twirled fire-lit batons, hula-hooped rings of fire, wore fire headdresses, juggled fire, and finished the show dancing with fireworks. See a video of the fireworks dance on the Germantown Charity Horse Show facebook page, and read more about them at: https://www.thedancingfire.com/firedancers.html
War Horses For Heroes, an equestrian therapy program at Oak View Stables for wounded, ill, and injured service men and women, opened the Horse Fair exhibitions by presenting the U.S. flag as the National Anthem played. Find more information about them at: http://warhorsesforheroes.org
Oak View Stables is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and the Lawson family was on hand with some of their horses to demonstrate show jumping. Trey Lawson explained the sport as Cody and Anna Grace demonstrated jumping a course of fences.
Riding sidesaddle is an old style newly revisited in the Memphis area, with sidesaddle classes now included in the Germantown Charity Horse Show class list and several sidesaddle riders at area foxhunting Opening Meets. The Mid-South Sidesaddle Association brought four members to demonstrate riding “aside,” to demonstrate mounting and dismounting, and explain the structure of the saddles. Two members even demonstrated jumping sidesaddle! Find them on facebook at: Mid-South Side Saddle Association. There will even be Sidesaddle classes at the Nashoba Carriage Classic & Driving Derby, October 20-22, 2017 at the Germantown Charity Horse Show arena.
Maggie Moore, riding Milo, demonstrated Road Trial competition with her Dalmatian Roe. Road Trial competitions are for dog/horse/rider teams. The competitions require the dog to complete specific obedience exercises with commands given by the mounted rider. A Dalmatian Road Trial is a performance event designed to evaluate a Dalmatian’s ability to “coach,” i.e., follow a handler on horseback or in a horse drawn carriage, with the dog(s) off leash.
Then it was time for the West Tennessee Pony Club riders who demonstrated some of the various equestrian disciplines in which Pony Clubbers participate. They demonstrated dressage, show jumping, and games competitions, as well as explained knowledge competitions.
The Old West Special Trails Grand Entry Team sported 1950s-style poodle skirts as they rode their precision drill team patterns. For a finale to their performance, they all lined up facing the west then the east sides of the arena and “hand danced” to the music, provided by DJ AD.
The Memphis Mounted Police Patrol took the ring next, showing their gaited horses. After their demo, there were plenty of children who wanted to pet the horses.
The Nashoba Carriage Association brought several drivers to demonstrate carriage scurry races: a face-paced equestrian sport in which ponies pull a carriage around a course of cones in an attempt to get the fastest time without knocking any balls off the top of the cones that mark the course.
Carriage rides around the grounds were available throughout the show, provided by Carriage Tours of Memphis. Owner ChrissySaylor drove Sammy the Belgian, who also posed for photo ops. Chrissy says that Sammy enjoys a good party.
Norman Timbs brought several Paso Finos and explained the gaits of the horses, who execute natural evenly spaced four-beat lateral gaits. The classic fino is a collected gait with rapid footfalls that cover as little ground as possible, requiring a high degree of collection. The paso corto is a slightly more extended gait, often used on trail rides. The paso largo is an increase in speed and extension in stride, and can be extremely fast.
As the lights went out in the arena, the audience was treated to the grand finale – the Dancing Fire troupe. Their fire eating was the most amazing part of the show, and how they do it is a mystery.
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