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July 31, 2014

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Devon Broughton warms up her horse for a Blowing Rock show earlier this summer. Jeff Eason photo

Originally published: 2013-07-18 09:05:42
Last modified: 2013-07-18 09:06:26

Horse show to resume

Blowing Rock’s tradition is steeped in equestrian activity.

The town’s reputation for horse showing and rider performance is rivaled by only the Louisville competition, where world champion stallions and riders are crowned.

In fact, promoter Maurice Ewing said the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show is often a tune-up for the Kentucky show, which seasoned veterans call the Super Bowl of showing.

“We don’t select world champions, but we’ve had world champions showed here,” Ewing said on the caliber of horses previously shown in Blowing Rock. “We’ve also had world champion riders compete here.”

The second installment of the nationally acclaimed show enters its second and final phase of the season, when riders take to the grounds of the Equestrian Preserve July 23 to 28 and Aug. 1 to 4 for the hunter-jumper competition.

Now, in its 90th year, the horse show has attracted riders from across the nation. Last year, 19 states were represented in the annual show, Ewing said.

Since its inception in 1923, the horse show has become more than just a seasonal attraction or competition for the town.

“The town of Blowing Rock is the show’s biggest asset, and we are a big asset for the town,” Ewing said. “There is a mutual admiration. There are a lot of us who have been associated with the show all of our lives. This is my 65th show.”

Ewing is not unique in that regard.

“There are people coming to this show longer than I have,” Ewing said. “Some who were riding or exhibiting now have grandchildren in the show. I think the way those of us involved … that have embraced not just the part of the good will of the show, but also as part of our lives is what makes it unique.”

Riders and horses have taken to the same grounds since 1928, adding a historical component to the show.

“One thing that makes the show unique is we don’t have any lights and probably never will,” Ewing said. “That is time off people normally don’t get. The purpose of that is that when it gets dark, then that’s it, and we have to call it a day. That way, everyone gets to make dinner reservations and walk the town. The show grounds are conveniently located close to town.”

The upcoming competition follows last week’s saddlebred division, Ewing said.

Adding intrigue to the production, the hunter-jumper division consists of two separate shows and creates the possibility for the awarding of double points.

“The two shows are almost identical in every way,” Ewing said.

Typically, there is a four- to six-week break between the first and second phase of the show. Ewing said organizers schedule the two events so they do not coincide with any other regional horse shows, as required by association regulations.
The hunter-jumper portion is rated “AA” and is a designated show for the National Hunter Derby. Blowing Rock is the only show in North Carolina designated for World Championship Hunter rider points, according to a news release.

Traditionally, proceeds from the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show go to numerous local civic organizations, including Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue, Blowing Rock Rotary Club, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Danny and Ron’s Rescue, Saddlebred Rescue, Watauga County Humane Society, Appalachian State University Equestrian Team and Horse Helpers of the High Country.

The 90th Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily July 23 to 28 and July 31 to Aug. 4 at the L.M. Tate Horse Show Grounds at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve, located at 1500 Laurel Lane in Blowing Rock. Ticket cost at the gate for spectators is $5 per day. Box seats may also be available for an increased price. For more information, call (828) 295-470
For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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