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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Rare Gypsy Cobs visit for Shelbyville show

Friday, April 8, 2011

Joanna Griffin of Connecticut gets Maya out to stretch her legs after a long drive down from New England. The Gypsy cob is one of many that will be shown at the Feathered Horse Spring Classic Saturday and Sunday at Calsonic Arena.
(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves)
It's a rare weekend in the ring and summer when there aren't horses at the Calsonic Arena, and this weekend, it's rare horses. The 3rd Annual Feathered Horse Spring Classic begins Saturday and ends Sunday afternoon with the popular costume contest.

"You have to see the costume contest," said Joanna Griffin, who owns Emerald Winds Farm in Connecticut with her husband, Stephen. "The costumes are going to be something else this year."

Jo and Stephen were the second farm in the country to breed Gypsy cobs, the small draft horses with the long, flowing manes, tails and feathered fetlocks. Recently, a gypsy cob organization was officially established and for the first time, they will be able to compete for a world grand championship, she said. There are now true divisional and regional competitions. Because of that, they decided to come all the way to Shelbyville for the Feathered Horse Classic -- about 1,000 miles.

Katherine Dow of New Hampshire gets ready to take Linneka, a Friesian, to the warmup ring. The trainers and horses arrived a few days early to give the horse a chance to relax after the 18-to-20-hour drive from New England.
(T-G Photo by Mary Reeves)
"I've been up 24 hours," said Jo. "We drove straight down."

The Griffins met up with their trainers in New Hampshire, who also brought some Friesians to show. Although feathered horses include Clydesdales, drum horses and Shires -- those breeds with the long, silky hair covering their hooves -- the Classic is limited to Gypsy cobs (called vanners by some) and the Friesians.

'They're addictive," she said. "But labor intensive."

If you go

The 3rd Annual Feathered Horse Spring Classic begins at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Calsonic Arena. Admission is free.

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