Rylin Bresset was the 4-6 year old leadline winner on Orchard Hills Forget Me Not.
Not many horse shows can boast of a tradition as long and successful as the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show and Country Fair. The Labor Day weekend event has seen struggles but has come through them in good order, marking its 70th anniversary year in 2013.
Horse Show Association President John Jacobs recalled how the show got its start in 1943, when 16 local families got together to have a horse show. "I just can’t imagine 16 families getting together now in our society, as busy as it is, and starting something like this, and then keeping it going for 70 years. That's pretty amazing to me," he said.
Ludwig's Corner is an unrated show but it manages to draw a wide spectrum of riders from beginners through ‘A’ show competitors. The featured class is the $7,500 mini prix, won this year by Bridget DiBella on her German Warmblood, Rima.
The only time during the three days of the horse show that saw any serious rainfall was on Labor Day Monday, during the mini-prix. After the first two trips, the skies opened up with drenching rain and distant rumbles of what might have been thunder beyond the hills. Just five horses went clean in the first round. While the course was being set for the jump-off the sunshine returned, keeping the riders dry, but they were still faced with the mud.
DiBella was the last to go in the jump-off, making it through clear with about two seconds to the good. "She was perfect today. The footing was bad but she handled it great. She doesn't really mind the footing," she said. "I had to think about speed, but I had to think about being careful on my turns."
DiBella normally shows Rima in the low amateur jumper divisions and was returning to Ludwig's Corner after a few years absence. "I used to show here every year," she said.
Diana Detwiler of Elverson, PA had been showing in New York the week before Ludwig’s, but came out just for one class, and won it. Detwiler was the winner of the $100 Ludwig's Corner Horse Show Association Jumper Class on Canadian Joe, a Shire - Thoroughbred cross. "He was great today. He went really nice - it was a really nice flowing course," she said.
While jumpers were featured in the main ring Monday, the show weekend began Saturday, August 30 at the other end of the spectrum in age and experience. The first day of the show features classes for novice and beginners, short stirrup and lead line.
James Costello was the 3 and under lead line champion on his new pony Logan. Cheryl Binswanger, mother of Costello's trainer Diane Little, was at the end of the lead line in both the walk and walk/trot classes.
While James was winning in leadline, his brother Carter and sister Carly were also showing at Ludwig's Corner in the short stirrup classes. "We're having a great time," said Little of Peace by Piece Farm in Chester Springs, PA. "We love Ludwig's. They make a big deal out of these classes for the kids."
In the older leadline division for children 4 to 6 the winner was Rylin Bresset of Chichester, on Orchard Hills Forget Me Not, known by the stable name of Poco. She rides with trainer Ashley Parker of Making Strides Farm in Kennett Square, PA. "We come to Ludwig's Corner every year. It's a tradition for us," Parker said. "I feel like it's a staple of Chester County horse shows. It's a good one to do every year."
One of the features of the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show that keeps people coming back is the variety of classes, including some unusual events that you are not likely to find elsewhere. Throughout the weekend you could find hunter pairs, hunt teams, a family class, a side saddle class, a Jack Benny division for riders over 39, 'buy me' classes on the flat and over fences, and a Daddy Leadline class.
Two fathers were recruited for the Daddy Leadline class this year, with Jim Biddle taking the blue ribbon in western tack on Sobe. "The horse has a game plan. I'm just here to make him look good," said Biddle who is from Blue Bell, PA. Biddle has some riding experience, both English and western style. "I could probably do both, but I prefer the western."
At the end of the lead line was daughter Hannah Biddle who was also showing Sobe in adult equitation. "This is his first time (in daddy leadline). I just signed him up for it. He didn't have a choice," she grinned.
Their competition and second place finisher was Brian Guthrie, on Chateau, being led by his daughter Krissy. She was at the show for adult equitation the medal classes and the hunter classic but took time to work with her father.
"This is the second time I've been on a horse. I'm looking forward to this," Brian Guthrie said. "Krissy wanted me to ride him - how do you say no?"