During the $25,000 Aiken Charity Hunter Classic on Friday, spectators, horses and their riders had to deal with constantly changing weather and cooler than normal conditions.
The wind blew as dark clouds raced across the sky while it rained off and on. Sometimes the sun peaked out, and at one point, a rainbow appeared.
“I’m going back to Canada,” declared one woman who was sitting in the VIP tent. “It’s warmer there.”
The Hunter Classic is one of the top events during the Aiken Charity Horse Shows. The first of the two back-to-back shows started Wednesday and continues through Sunday.
Jennifer Bliss rode Harris Hill Farm’s Sugarman to victory during the Hunter Classic’s two rounds of jumping. Maria Rasmussen finished second on Corporate Way’s Subject to Change, and Daniel Geitner was third on Janet Peterson’s Raffle.
The $25,000 Aiken Premiere Grand Prix will be held Sunday, and it is scheduled to start around 1 p.m.
According to the National Weather Service in Columbia, skies will be mostly sunny or sunny today and Sunday, and the high temperature both days will be in the low 70s. It also will be breezy.
“It’s a little more challenging to show horses when it’s windy, especially the younger ones,” said Equus Events’ PJ Godard, who is the manager for both Aiken Charity Shows. “They get a little spooked when things are moving around, but most of the horses in the Hunter Classic jumped well today.”
As for precipitation, it wasn’t a problem, in Godard’s opinion
“When rain started hitting us hard Thursday, we were finishing up, so it didn’t hurt anything,” he said. “It actually was a help in keeping the grass on the property nice and green.”
Godard is expecting around 450 horses and their riders to participate in the first Aiken Charity Show.
“We don’t know for sure how many yet, because some people just show on the weekend and won’t get here until Saturday, and we also have horses that just ship in here on a daily basis instead of staying here,” Godard said.
The second Charity Show is May 10-14. Mercedes-Benz of Augusta is the presenting sponsor for the $25,000 Aiken Charity Horse Show Grand Prix on May 13.
Classes for both shows begin each day at 8 a.m., and the public is invited to attend. There is no charge for admission.
Bruce’s Field is at 931 Powderhouse Road. For more information, visit www.aikenhorsepark.org or the Aiken Horse Park Foundation Facebook page.