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Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show


Ava Swords with her horse Indian Summer and Scottie Arnold with her horse Cassini Royale enjoying the mountain grass.

Naomi Gillen showing Heidi Duke's Delaney in 3'3" Greens

Naomi Gillen showing Heidi Duke's Delaney in 3'3" Greens

Naomi Gillen showing Calder Trotz's Fate in 3'3" Performance
By Lisa Manning

This year was the 97th running of the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. This Heritage Competition offered two weeks of Hunter/Jumper shows: July 21-26 and July 28-August 2, 2020, but the Saddlebred portion of the show was cancelled. The horse show’s primary fundraising effort is for the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation, which supports local non-profit healthcare services and animal welfare organizations.

As a nice reprieve from the Memphis area summer heat, the North Carolina mountains provided cool weather in the mornings, with fog rolling through. The views are stunning and the flowers were in full bloom. There are trails for horses and humans that sprawl for miles around the Broyhill Equestrian Preserve.

There was great horse showing, too. But new this year, in conjunction with USEF and the state of North Carolina rules, were temperature checks, mask enforcement, and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of exhibitors, staff, and the community.

It was “one of the best years yet at Blowing Rock!” said Dave Pellegrini, head trainer at Spring Mill Farm, Eads, Tenn. Dave took several students to the show: Abigail Arnold, Ella and Calder Trotz, Caden Gill, Madison Hill, Reagan Habeeb, and Ava Swords.

Instructor, Naomi Gillen asked the kids: “What was your favorite thing about Blowing Rock this year?”

Abigail Arnold said: “I loved the cool weather and being with my best friends, which still made it fun even with all the protocols.”

Ella Trotz liked “The competition. Even though the show isn’t huge in the 3’6 division all of the competitors are top riders in the country so they make you want to be better. And the food is so yummy!”

Caden Gill liked “The weather and the mountains.”

Madison Hill said, “My favorite thing about Blowing Rock was the beautiful scenery!”

Reagan Habeeb praised “The energy of the whole town, for sure! The environment was perfect, so I wasn’t stressed out before I got to the show.”

Ava Swords said: “My favorite thing about Blowing Rock this year was the weather, being around my friends, and, of course, Milo (her horse).”

CalderTrotz answered, “My favorite part was watching Gillen and Beaux in the challenge of champions!”

During the first week of showing, Ella Trotz and As Ever were Large Junior Hunter 3’6” (16-17) division Champions, while her sister, Calder Trotz and Fate were Performance working Hunter 3’6” Champions.

Quinito, owned by Abigail Arnold, won the USEF Medal and was second in the ASPCA Maclay.

During week two, Madison Hill and Marble Arch were reserve champion in Junior Hunter 3’6” (15 &U); Calder Trotz and Fate were reserve champion in Junior Hunter 3’3” (15 &U); and Ella Trotz and As Ever were Performance Working Hunter 3’6” reserve champions.

Find more information about the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show at: on facebook at Blowing Rock Horse Show. Full results of both weeks are posted at

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