Vibrant hues, rhinestones and glitter are not what come to mind when thinking about a horse show or rider.
But that was the theme of the Ponies of America Club Southwest Regional Horse Show, a Western theme with all the sparkle and glitter possible.
The horse show competition was held at the Fairplex on Saturday and Sunday.
The competition featured female riders from the ages of 8 and under, 9-12, 13-18 and 19 and older and followed the Western attire wearing white or black hats, dark jeans and very unique colorful shirts.
The spectators enjoyed the unique styles and the beauty of the ponies.
“ The competition is like a pageant on horses,” Cindy Turner, a resident of Colton, said.
he riders also matched their outfits to the color of their ponies. The girls and women in the competition rode specific breeds of ponies called the Pony of America.
POAs are distinct in their appearance. They usually have blanket pattern, spots and mottled skin.
The groups competed in events which are different divisions in the competition and test the power of the rider and pony. They were judged on the clothing requirements, horse compliance, ability to stay in circle, lead and many other areas. Each rider is competing for points that they earn in their events which determines who wins because of the total of points at the end of competition.
Many of the riders travel from afar to be in the competition. Emily Shaw, 16, drove from Arizona to compete in the horse show.
Her makeup was done and she was dressed in a shimmering black and red blouse with rhinestones on the collar with black pants and she matched her pony because of the similarity in her blouse pattern and the pattern on the pony’s skin.
This competition is different from other competitions because everyone is friendly and not everyone is competitive, Shaw said.
Sierra Taylor, 13, came prepared to win and has been riding for six years. Taylor participated in every class in her age group both days of the contest.
“I feel free when I ride, I love it,” Taylor said.
Another strong contender is Ali Fuller and this is her third regional competition.
She loves to compete and has been competing with POAC for about four years.
Fuller offered advice for people interested in competing.
“Only compete if your heart is in the right place,” Fuller said.
Fuller also worked with trainer Samantha Lynch and sometimes rode three times each week to be prepared.
Lynch has been a professional trainer for three years and lives in Arizona.
She sets goals for all her riders and she does not expect them to win, but expects them to do their best.
All the participants in the POAC exhibited their best skills with the ponies and most of all had fun and enjoyed riding.
Tiffany Spears can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.