HALIFAX — The Enfield Foundation sponsored the Enfield Horse Show at the Halifax Livestock Arena on Saturday, where young folks competed in various classes.
The weather brought clear blue skies for the family-oriented event, which was part of the Tri-County Horse Show Circuit and featured 57 classes such as English Showmanship, Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat, Lead Line, Ranch Riding, Western and more. Families and friends gathered around the fenced-in wooden arena to watch contestants perform, kicking up trails of dust in the air with a U.S. flag waving in the background, making anyone feel right at home out in the country.
Larry Armstrong, president of the Enfield Foundation, said the Tri-County Horse Club Circuit has different hosts for each show, which his organization hosted Saturday’s event. Armstrong said the Enfield Foundation has been around since the late 1950s to support educational activities around Enfield to support the town in general. With various projects held for many years, he said the organization picked up the show this year from the Enfield Lions Club, which has been a tradition in the town for decades.
Armstrong said the Enfield Horse Show used to be the largest one-day horse show in the world back in the 1950s.
“And it was a big deal, and it got to the point where the Lions — they all aged out, and we didn’t have a show for many years,” he said. “Some years ago, we decided we’d come back and start that tradition again. This show is supported by businesses and individuals in Enfield who have contributed to make this possible. These are people who care about the past of Enfield, and they care about the future.”
His wife, Casey Armstrong, who is a member of the North Carolina Horse Council Board of Directors, said the circuit horse shows are all over the state. Casey said people attending the shows back in the day when the Enfield Lions Club show was huge remember those events due to the hospitality.
“I mean, we had three horse show rings going on at one time,” she said. “We had people from five or six states come to that show. I mean, it was just a huge show. And everybody loved it because of the hospitality and what we tried to do to make the exhibitors. That’s kind of what we want to do now is to make sure this show is recognized for its hospitality.”
One rider who finished up her show was 5-year-old Tessa Pearson, who was carrying her saddle as she followed her riding instructor, Kasie Webb of Majestic Stables, who was riding Trigger to a round pin.
Webb rode Trigger around along the fence inside the pin as Tessa stood in the center watching and learning. But the moments of rest were met with head nudges, hugs and giggles from Tessa, who was bonding with Trigger and learning to bridle the discipline, hard work and responsibilities that come with it.
Webb said Trigger is Tessa’s horse, and he is in training. She said the plan is for him to go to be her horse in November. Webb said it means a lot to her as the trainer to start a horse that will eventually be Tessa’s.
“I put a lot of trust into these animals, and I put a lot of trust into my riders. And to put a young kid on a young horse, that’s a lot,” she said.
Tessa said she loved the horse show because of all the horses, but when it comes to Trigger, he is her world.
“I like Trigger’s color, and what I love about him too is that he gives hugs,” she said.
Webb said she had asked Tessa once if she would ever sell Trigger after his training, to which she said not even for $100.
“Nope — not selling him,” Tessa said. “I’m going to keep him forever until he dies.”
Going into her first horse show was 3-year-old Kathryn Lawrence riding Brass Keepsake and her mother, Stephanie Lawrence, alongside them.
Stephanie said she loves the atmosphere of the event with the camaraderie and challenges.
“We have a small farm around the corner, and it’s nice to come somewhere and show and such great people, and this has been a great event,” she said. “I love that we learn from each other and fellow horsemen and women.”
Contestants in each class would place and receive ribbons in association with their winning placement.
Dave Spencer was the ring steward for the event, who is also certified by the American Quarter Horse Association and president of District 5 AQHA. Spencer said he has been doing these events for nearly five years and said they are good for the kids.
“I’ll tell you what, you’ll never see any of these kids take a knee for a flag or anything,” he said. “They’re patriotic, they’re well mannered. It really teaches them a lot. I have horses, and we have kids that work them and it teaches them work because it’s hard. This is the fun part. The hard part is at home in the barn.”
The majority of riders were young girls in the competition, and at the end of the day, everyone had a smile and a good time.
Sponsors for the event
• Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts
• A&B Milling Co.
• Halifax Electric Membership Corporation
• Bellamy Manor and Gardens
• Andrus and Company LLC
• Armstrong Law PLLC
• Lee Sims Chocolates
• Yoga Magnolia
• Downtown Enfield Restoration & Preservation
• Drugcare Pharmacy
• Bellamy Harware
• Nationwide Insurance
• Southern Secrets at Mears
• BB&T/Truist Bank
• Halifax Mutual Insurance Company
• Dr. Daniel Frohwirth in New Jersey
• Laurie and Robert Cotter of Enfield
• Susanna Martin and Paul Barna of Enfield
• Betty Barna of Enfield