Thundering Hooves Riding Clubs hosts costume contest Saturday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — Riders and horses made their way to the Adams County Equestrian Center Saturday for a horse show with a Halloween twist.

And if the riders with the Thundering Hooves Riding Club were attempting to trick observers into thinking the horses were something else, they did a good job.

Owners and contestants dressed their horses, and themselves, up as witches, oxen and even Jesus Christ as a judge ranked the steeds and riders.

Email newsletter signup

The costume contests were divided into three age groups, 6 and under, 7 to 15 and 16 and over. Club treasurer Lissa Graves said Saturday’s event was one of many the clubs hosts throughout the year.

“We have all kinds of judged events, like halter showmanship and western pleasure, where they’re judged on a riding trail, which is basically an obstacle course,” Graves said.

With riders ages 6 and under, Graves said there’s an effort to grow the riders into the competitions. But that effort extends to anyone that’s new and maybe uncomfortable, she said.

“We lead and help the younger ones, so they can learn. If you’re older and doing it for the first time, we’ll also walk out there with you too,” she said.

Club member Wayne Smith said getting the younger generation into competitive riding and horse showmanship is what keeps him involved after many years.

“I got started back when my youngest son was 13. He liked it for a while, but outgrew it. Then my grandson wanted to get involved, and it’s grown on him,” Smith said.

“I like to promote these kinds of activities because they’re family-oriented. You can have a big influence on kids right here.”

Smith’s grandson, Braydon Smith, who’s 7, said he’s been involved with horses since he was 2 years old.

“I like doing this stuff. We get to run and do stuff with the horses. I love them,” Braydon Smith said.

“I’ve won three belt buckles so far, and I’m fixing to win another one in a few more years.”

And his family’s love for competitive riding has grown on him too, Smith said.

“I wasn’t riding competitively at first back when I got involved, but I was riding at home. I got into it, and it kind of brought the youth out of me,” Smith said.

Club board member Ruthie Hinton said the organization was founded in 2006, and is open to anyone that has an interest in competitive riding or showmanship.

“We just all got together and decided to start a new riding club. This is really the only club like this in Natchez,” Hinton said.

But membership isn’t limited to Adams County residents, Graves said.

“We have people all the way from Houston involved. We also have people from places like Brookhaven, McComb and Wesson,” Graves said.

“There are just as many people from outside of Adams County as there are from Adams County.”

Anyone wanting to know more about the Thundering Hooves can call Graves at 601-597-8810, or Hinton at 601-597-812.