Dallas County Horse Show brings riders from near and far
Published 11:02 pm Saturday, March 12, 2016
Albion, Maine is nearly 1,500 miles away from Selma. But Lisa Riopell-Gonzalez didn’t let that distance stop her from traveling to visit her trainer and compete in Saturday’s Dallas County Horse Show.
The Dallas County Horse Arena hosted roughly 20 horse riders from around Alabama and outside the state in over 30 classes of competition throughout the day Saturday. The bad weather held off long enough to allow for a full day of competition.
Riopell-Gonzalez, who has been riding for just under 10 years, competed in 17 different classes. She ended the day with more than a handful of ribbons. Riopell-Gonzalez said it was only her second horse show she’s competed in.
“It’s fun. It’s a learning experience,” Riopell-Gonzalez said. “And the crowd cheered me on.”
Riopell-Gonzalez wasn’t the only rider who traveled from out of town to ride. Susan Havard and Susan Silver came from Theodore to take part in the competition. They were both happy to be competing in the horse show because they love riding horses and they supported the horse show’s cause.
“This is a win-win situation,” Havard said.
All the money collected at the Dallas County Horse Show will go toward funding Paul Grist Park, a cause that horse show coordinator Alden Holley said is important to give back to.
Friends of Paul Grist Park spokesperson Anita Ellison said she expects the money raised at Saturday’s horse show to go toward getting kids outdoors at Paul Grist Park.
“We have a lot of repairs we want to do at the park, and we want to start putting on programs for children and the community to get people back into nature,” Ellison said.
Ellison said she hopes the new programs will get kids — and adults — off their phones and reconnect them with loving nature.
Holley said he believed the potential bad weather kept plenty of riders from coming out to the horse show. While Holley admitted he was disappointed with the turnout, he said it was great for the riders who showed up because they each enjoyed plenty of success throughout the day.
“With the weather scare, it worked out good for them because there’s not much competition,” Holley said.
One of those riders was Riopell-Gonzalez, who said she is still relatively new to the sport, but was able to shine in the spotlight in a horse arena that is very far away from her hometown in Maine.
“I figured if I was going to come all the way here and do this, I was going to do it,” Riopell-Gonzalez said. “Doing it big.”