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Come in, you're welcome

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Walking horse trainers, owners and exhibitors call the Celebration the greatest horse show on Earth.

But just because visitors are more than welcome to attend the show and cheer on their favorites doesn't mean it's OK -- or safe -- for folks visiting the horse show to make themselves at home in the barn area.

There are certain unspoken rules that apply for your safety and for the busy horse trainer's sanity.

"Come to enjoy the show, walk around and see our beautiful breed and to appreciate all the work and detail that goes in to preparing for these 10 days of our World Championship show," said trainer Jill Derickson, in a previous interview with the T-G. "Visit the vendors and buy a souvenir, and most importantly sit in the stands and cheer on your favorite horse and/or rider and see this magnificent animal in motion. There is nothing like it in the world!"

Inside the barn area, Derickson suggests visitors be respectful of the fact that trainers and assistants are very busy.

"Visitors should walk by, look around, view all the beautiful barn decorations, and only start up a conversation if it appears someone is not busy and looks like they are available and have the time to visit," Derickson said.

Also, it is not appropriate for visitors to walk into stall areas or onto stable porches (where all the flowers, decorations and pictures are).

"(Visitors) should not walk up on any porches or back in any barn areas," Derickson said. "These are generally working areas and professionals are very busy getting everything ready for the show that night."

If you would like to speak to a trainer or have questions about a particular walking horse it is probably best to hold your questions until after the show.

"Trainers are very busy, and have so much to do and so many horses and people to take care of that it is nearly impossible to catch them at a time when they would want to have much of a conversation," Derickson said. "Before the show starts or after the show is over is about the only chance."

When walking around the barn area always be aware of the horses and attendants, and give them the right of way.

"Keep a safe distance away from the horse and respect the fact that they are very busy and probably running on a very tight time schedule when the show is going on," she said. "Many barns will take the time, if they have the time, to let you pet a horse, or even give children the ribbons from the horse's mane, but just be respectful and realize that not everyone will be able to have the time to do this."

But while you're in the stands, pick out the one you like, and show them your support.

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