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Saturday mornings for the past several months have included some extra challenges for Ida Sankey and Kahla Onetto, with New Bridge Polo Club as the host site for Aiken Peewee Polo, offering the chance for some of Aiken's youngest equestrians to learn the basics of the sport.   

The Aiken Triple Crown is made up of three equine-related events happening on three consecutive weekends in March: the Aiken Trials, the Aiken Spring Steeplechase and Pacers & Polo. 

The process took a couple of years, but retired teacher Karey Santos now has one of her horse-friendly creations circulating throughout Aiken, as the artist behind this year's poster to promote the Aiken Spring Steeplechase. 

Watching horses compete is a thrill. But for some of us, a day at the races is less about who finishes in the money than it is about what there is to eat. From that perspective, Aiken's Triple Crown is the ultimate spring tailgate.

Horses and the equestrian way of life have been part of Aiken's fabric for well over a century.

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Aiken County, with an assortment of top-flight equestrian facilities, is home base for hundreds of competitive riders who travel around the country and beyond, and local acreage also includes a few places where prospective riders can get a feel for the basics of horsemanship. 

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One of Aiken's newest equestrian facilities, just north of the city limits, focuses on bringing experienced horse handlers together to share their expertise "to empower individuals with special needs and their families," as indicated in the mission statement of Great Oak Equine Assisted Programs. 

Last year, Logan Bearden rode Ron Madden’s filly Gallanor to a first-place finish in the Aiken Trials. This year, Bearden is back as a trainer with co-trainer Justin Lorenzo Rivera, preparing for another victory in the Trials with Madden’s horse My Boy Paddy (Paddy O’Prado – Wildheartsneverd…

Tailgating is one of many draws to Aiken's Triple Crown events. If you're tailgating railside this year, here are a few drink recipes to sip as you watch the horses go by. 

People come to Aiken from all over the world for the Aiken Triple Crown, but many may not know the definition of a "pacer" in the third event Pacers and Polo.