The Lost Art of the Local Show

Sometimes I think back to my childhood and wonder how things have changed so much in less than 30 years (yes, I’m a young’n). Sometimes I wonder why the local show scene where I live now is so different from where I grew up. Then I wonder if it’s reality that’s changed or just my perspective. Maybe I’m just too focused on the national Morgan scene and the local scene hasn’t actually changed.

Is it just me, or did showing used to be… I don’t know… friendlier? Local shows were well attended and loads of fun. Now there seems to be an attitude of being above showing in a local, open breed show. Oh how I would love to see a return of those weekend and one day shows that were just plain fun. Do they still exist? I sometimes hear rumors of them, but that they’re no fun for Morgan owners because of breed prejudice. Well, if we got out to them more maybe the judges would start to notice us.

Am I on to something here? Or am I just too out of the loop for the local show scene?

9 Responses to The Lost Art of the Local Show

  1. sportymorgan says:

    There are fewer, but some of the sport Morgan people do get their Morgans out to various open/local events. But if you’re in front of a stock horse judge (which seems to be the thing at a lot of these shows) you’re going to have a hard time, because Morgans are just different.

    I prefer scored and timed events, where breed prejudice is less of an issue.

  2. We took our 3 year old mare Dottie to a local one day show 3 weeks ago. There was everything from mules to TWH to racking horses to VSEs. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, the facilities were not very good, but safe if you were careful, and the judge (gaited judge) complimented our rider on her first place in a class with an ASB and a thoroughbred hunter. We went because we wanted to expose the mare to many stimuli, and boy, did we ever! It was so much like the old days of showing out of our trailer at someone’s pasture or the 4H fairgrounds. I think you can find those shows just about anywhere in the country but you might have to look at the local feed store, tack store or riding school. The following weekend she went to a hunter/jumper barn which was holding a 2 day show. She went in W/T/C and did not do well, but she doesn’t spook at jump standards anymore! These were within 20 miles of us, and the entry fees were $12/class. And they were FUN!

  3. Vintage_Rider says:

    I love, love, love the local shows. Even if your sights are set on “the big time”, these local shows are great for tune ups, exposure to lots of things (I still can feel the fear on my face at a county fair in NY when they were weighing the pigs at the same time as championship class… man are they LOUD). Here in MI they are quite well attended. I don’t go to the “speed and action” as they are segregated, so not sure how well attended those are, but there are several circuits here in MI. I found the staff friendly, but sometimes, if you beat the person who is a “big fish” in a little pond, you can expect some nasty “what are YOU doing here” looks. I took my then 4 year old to a local show last year just for experience and took him in hand, and he won the “fine” class against 6 other saddlebred/morgan types, the junior horse class against 15 stock horses and arabs (with a stock judge no less) and took reserve grand championship-open, so in total he beat out easily 50 other horses… I got “the look” LOL, but had a blast!

  4. RaeOfLight says:

    I think region has a lot to do with it. I’ve heard good things about the Michigan area and I grew up in northwestern PA and that area of the country has a good smattering of local shows and enough Morgans to fend off breed prejudice.

    I’m in the St Louis area now there’s just not a lot for Morgans within 100+/- miles. I’ve been financially strapped enough for most of my time here that I haven’t really been able to invest in it even if there was much going on so maybe I’m just not aware of it. Now that I’ve sold my house my financial picture is much better so I’m hoping to get more involved. We’ll see how much I can find.

  5. Vintage: When pigs holler, the old term is that they are “wrathy”. I always loved that word. A wrathy hog….

  6. jll299 says:

    If you’re in New York, the central district Morgan show strikes a really nice compromise between the fun local shows that you guys are talking about but still some good competition (and no breed bias because it is all Morgans). It is really a delightful show. Everyone is really friendly and there to have a good time. But there are still some really nice horses that are fun to watch. I highly recommend this show

  7. mbk says:


    But if it is all Morgan then it really is not an “open” show…

    Just sayin’ and I know they added a couple of “open” classes but I’m not really sure that it fits this topic…

    Open is open and Un-rated is something different.

    This show was “rated” prior being restricted to Ammy’s or Jr. Exhibitor’s only and it was well attended then.

    I think that if you are going to run a multi-breed show..or an open show then more power to you…however if you try to do a breed restricted show then it should be rated at this point in time in this economy.

    I too, heard it was a nice show and well run. I just believe that you need to go one way or the other with these shows.

    Mike Kropp

  8. jll299 says:

    Yeah I would not consider it an open show at all even with its few “open classes”. I was more speaking to the “local, affordable, and fun” aspect. If I really wanted to show my horse off I would go to a bigger show but just speaking for the fun aspect coming from someone who was there, you can’t beat it. And as for being rated, it was a-rated last year and not limited to amateurs. It was unrated this year, but I’m sure they hoped it would be rated this year and are still
    hoping it will be in the future. I’m not saying it was my favorite show, I’m just saying if your looking for a short weekend to show your horse with people that are all friendly and just trying to help each other out, as i sense the person who started this thread is, this is the place to do it.

  9. ghfarm says:

    I was very fortunate to get my “show legs” at a wonderful local show, where my mother still brings her students- My happiest show memory is not from OKC or new England but that backyard show. I took my filly to the local show last June and the judge was a “stock horse” judge yet she pinned my filly on top of an open model horse class. We just need to keep getting our wonderful breed out there! I love nothing more than when we are at open shows and people ask us “what breed is your horse?” and the expression on their face when we answer “A Morgan, of course!”

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