A horse heyday in Hayden

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Horses of many breeds and colors made the trip to the Routt County Fairgrounds on Saturday to take their stab at winning a ribbon, blanket, or new saddle during the open horse show.

The open horse show, which continues today, unofficially kicks off Routt County Fair activities at the fairgrounds in Hayden.

Horse show superintendent Sharon Clever said more than 100 horses entered this year's show, a strong number.

Routt County has an unusual horse show because it's open to horse owners of almost any age, all types of horses and because it's relatively inexpensive to enter, which most participants appreciate, Clever said.

"I am glad we had such a good turnout for this year's show," she said. "People really enjoy coming out here and showing off their horses."

Clever said people from Routt, Moffat, Eagle, Mesa and Garfield counties entered the show, as well as one person from Denver.

The show was reorganized this year to let younger participants show their horses first because adults can stay up much longer than the younger participants, Clever said.

"We wanted to try and do something for everyone, especially all of the little kids," she said.

The youngest entry was for an 11-month-old child whose parents registered their toddler to ride a horse in the lead line class.

Clever said she was happy to have Kevin Waggoner, of Elizabeth, judge the open horse show. His hands-on approach to judging means participants don't just get results, they also get advice.

"Instead of just judging, he talks with all of the participants after they show and gives some feedback so they learn from their mistakes," she said. "After they get feedback from the judge, they use that advice to work on their goals for next year."

Kris Shiner, a horse show superintendent and parent of horse-show participant Kalvert Shiner, was impressed that Wag--goner had a compliment for each horse and owner but also was able to make the show a learning experience.

"As a parent, it's nice to hear a judge giving helpful tips and not just sending them on their way," she said.

Craig resident Kalli Death--erage, 18, said she was a little nervous about showing her horse, Aspen, in the showmanship class because it's a class they don't usually compete in.

After Deatherage led Aspen through the pattern and was judged, she thought her run went really well.

"I try to stay calm out there, because if I get nervous, then she gets nervous," Deatherage said.

Deatherage won the first-place ribbon in her class.

"It's nice to see all of your hard work finally pay off," she said.

Deatherage has been working with Aspen, an 11-year-old paint, for 10 years. This was not the first time Deatherage has won a first-place ribbon. She credits her longtime relationship with Aspen and hard work for their success.

"We work well together, because when I think something, she just knows what to do," she said.

Clever said that in her four years of planning the show, she has seen most participants return year after year.

"This is a good community event where people can get to socialize, because sometimes, you might only see the other participants once a year," she said.

The horse show continues today from 8 a.m. until about 5 or 6 p.m. About 25 classes will be held today, including western horsemanship, trail racing and barrel racing.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steambaotpilot.com

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