A horse show with a purpose

Horse Show With Purpose

ABINGDON, Va. - There are reminers all around us of just how far many of us have come from our roots on the farm and life in the country.

There's a group of volunteers who would like to help kids remember and get involved with that simple life again. The way they're doing that is by having old-fashioned classic horse shows for folks to come watch and be a part of.

Ryan Gobble and his horse "Bo" are out for a morning workout at the Washington County Fairground Horse Arena.  He and Bo are getting ready for Saturday's horse show classics.

The arena is in a back corner of the fairgrounds and had, over time, been a bit neglected. "A group of volunteers got together and realized that this had sort of fallen into disrepair. There was nothing happening with the show grounds and we needed a place to show our horses and kind of stimulate interest in the community," volunteer Dianne Andis says.

Ryan has been working with horses almost before he could walk at age one. "My uncle and my dad helped me get out in the ring. I first started with miniature horse halter and then I finally moved on to the barrels and some of the faster stuff," Gobble said.

None of Ryan's classmates have any idea that he's involved in this fast paced racing. "If I went to school most of my buddies have no clue what I do. No one shows horses, nobody shows anything. We're one of the only people in my school that has anything to do with agriculture, shows, anything like that," he says.

"Anymore a lot of people are sort of disconnected from their agricultural roots and we want to stimulate that and get kids interested. It's fun and healthy," Andis says.

One of the first things they want to do with the show ground is to build bathrooms. "If you need to use the restroom you have to go up to the main fair, which is a pretty good walk, or you use the port-o-potties, which is not necessarily fun on hot days," Andis said.

So for two years now they've been working to accomplish that simple task, one horse show at a time.

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