Pleasure driving

The Pleasure Driving competition is one of the favorites during the annual Saddlebred competition at the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show.

BLOWING ROCK — The 96th season of the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show — the oldest continually running annual charity horse show east of the Mississippi River — kicks off June 6-9 with around 300 saddlebred horses, their riders, trainers, families and spectators taking part in dozens of competitions at the L.M. Tate Showgrounds at the Broyhill Family Equestrian Preserve.

"The saddlebred classes are loaded with chrome and flash," a statement from the BRCHS's website states. "The atmosphere at a saddlebred show is electric, with spectators shouting encouragement and rooting for their favorites from the stands."

The action starts at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, June 6-7 and 9, and at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 8. The championship rounds start at 1 p.m. Saturday and go through Sunday morning.

"The most exciting classes are the three- and five-gated open championship classes," the BRCHS website states. "Equally exciting are the roadster classes, shown both under saddle and in harness. Competing with the big, beautiful Saddlebreds are the Hackney ponies, just as flashy as their larger counterparts. Also not to be missed is the fine harness division, where carriages and harness can be compared to the cost of your house."

The Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show remains popular not just because of its history and competition, but also because of its proximity to the Moses Cone Park and Bass Lake, which offer miles of mountain trails for riders and their horses.

A sanctioned U.S. Equestrian Federation Heritage Competition event, the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show provides funding for a number of worthy causes, including Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue, Rotary International, Appalachian State University Equestrian Team, Horse Helpers of the High Country, the Watauga Humane Society, Danny and Ron’s Rescue and other charities.

After the saddlebred, the gates will be brought up for the Hunters and Jumpers on July 23-28 and July 31 to Aug. 4.

Tickets for spectators at the Blowing Rock Horse Show are $10 per day per spectator with ticket holders allowed to come and go during the day. Children ages 12 and younger are free. Boxes featuring six seats, when available, are $300 during the Saddlebred Competition. For more information, call the BRCHS at (828) 295-4700.

For more information, including a full schedule, visit www.brchs.org.

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