For nearly a year, horse shows and other events in the equine community have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, nearly a year after the last major equine event in Clark County, the Clark County Executive Horse Council (CCHC) is set to host its annual Winter Woolies horse show.
For the past 30 years, the Winter Woolies show has taken place in January, February and March when horses are at their “wooliest.” However, for 2021, the show is taking place between March and May due to COVID-19 restrictions during the months of January and February.
“Now we’re calling it ‘Winter Woolies and Spring Fling,’” CCHC President Alice Heller said.
The annual show takes place on three weekends over three months. Rather than being one big show over three weekends, the Winter Woolies show is three separate shows under the same name. Each month has the same events and is judged by a different person. Events for the show include English Equitation, English Pleasure, Western Equitation, Western Pleasure and more. Heller said the shows are “not championships” and the CCHC promotes fun as a main goal for the show. However, highpoint awards and buckles are handed out at the show in each of the three age groups: 13 and under, 14 to 18 and 19 and over.
“I’m hoping we get to have all three shows by moving them up (in the year) like we did,” Heller said. “Since we’ve now moved to Phase 2.”
Heller explained how the health and safety guidelines of Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington reopening plan are different for agricultural events. Heller said the CCHC can have no more than 50 people at a time in the area and must have specifically designated doors for entry and exit. Along with this, absolutely no spectators are allowed at the event for March with spectators at the April and May events dependent on health and safety guidelines at the time.
“This is the thing that makes me sad,” Heller said. “We can’t have spectators. That’s normally a big part of it. The kids can look up in the bleachers and see grandma and grandpa. We can’t even have a photographer on site (this year).”
Heller said children participating in the Winter Woolies show are allowed to bring one parent with them while adults can’t bring anybody. Along with limits on spectators and attendees, Heller said everyone will be wearing masks (unless they are riding their horse) and groups will have one empty stall between them in the barn to ensure physical distancing parameters are in place. Those registering to be in the show must also have their registrations postmarked 10 days in advance.
For the 2021 show, Heller said her biggest worry was getting enough participants for the show to pay for the expenses of renting the arena at the fairgrounds, produce ribbons and pay for judging. However, she is still excited to bring the show to the equine community.
Next year, Heller hopes to bring back the event in a full capacity with vendors, spectators and more events such as her favorite, events for children such as lede lining, tandem bareback and more.
“It’s really just so much fun watching the kids,” Heller said.
While COVID-19 has caused many equine events to be put on hold, Heller said the community is “resilient” and the community has come together to help each other out in the time of need. For example, the CCHC has continued with its “Adopt a Horse” program where the council finds help and foster homes for mistreated horses. The council has also worked to help farmers and equestrians in need throughout the pandemic and has helped pay for hay and other care the equines need.
“If you need help, contact the horse council,” Heller said. “Don’t let your horse suffer.”
More information about the CCHC can be found at ccehc.org. If you would like to sign up for the April or May Winter Woolies show, visit ccehc.org/winter-woolies.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here