Originated in 1971, the Murray Saddle Club has seen a revival in the last year or two, with a heavy emphasis on local youth and 4-H/FFA involvement. With the upcoming show this weekend, the club is starting the season off with a bang.
Murray Saddle Club 2017 4-H/FFA Open Buckle Show kicks off 9 a.m. Sunday, June 11, at the Murray Horse Arena.
“We’re giving away nine high-point belt buckles,” said Toni Van Werden, president of the Murray Horse and Rider Club who joined forces with the president of the Murray Saddle Club, Annette Brummel, to put this on. “We’ve joined together to give the 4-H/FFA youth the opportunity to get a show in before local county fairs.”
Members of the group put in long hours collecting donations for awards. Over 100 participants pre-registered — the group’s largest show yet — so everyone involved wanted to make it worth their while. There’s a wide variety of events, so it’s easy for riders to find something to suit their fancies.
FFA showmanship, English walk/trot, English pleasure, English equitation, Western walk/trot, Western pleasure, ranch pleasure, Western horsemanship, reining, trail, pole bending, flag race, barrels and ride-a-buck competitions are open in any of four age categories. Winners will receive trophies and awards up to one of nine belt buckles for the top winners.
Spectating at the show is free, but to take part, there is a $25/day or $6/event fee.
“The Murray Saddle Club has revamped,” said Van Werden. “We do clinics, cowgirl queen contests, fun shows, judged horse shows, fundraisers, anything horse related.”
Heather Angle-Gardner of Ottumwa will be judging Sunday’s show. For more information on attending, taking part or being a vendor call 641-223-2180 or stop by the group’s new Facebook page online.