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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • 14th Annual Horse Show held

  • -The 14th Annual Wayne County Benefit Horse Show (WCBHS) was recently held at the Lake Equestrian Center and brought a great crowd.
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  • -The 14th Annual Wayne County Benefit Horse Show (WCBHS) was recently held at the Lake Equestrian Center and brought a great crowd.
    The show, which donates to nonprofit organizations, selected Fair Hill Farm Riding Academy and Dyberry Day Camp as the recipients for the funds from this year's show.
    Fair Hill Farm Riding Academy, located in Tyler Hill, offers therapeutic riding programs for adults and children with cognitive, psychological and physical disabilities. Dyberry Day Camp has been serving challenged children from Wayne County for over 40 years, helping hundreds of students with various activities.
    Funds from the show will be used to help both programs as well as help with the development of a horse centered afterschool program.
    This year is the first year that the Wayne County Community Foundation is involved with WCBHS.
    "The foundation has given two grants to Fair Hill Farm Riding Academy," said Paul Edwards, executive director for the Wayne County Community Foundation. "The first was about two years ago to help support two riders with scholarships to use the academy. We were so pleased with their success so this year, we provided a second grant to Fair Hill to underwrite the Wayne County Benefit Horse Show and the demonstrations here for therapeutic riding."
    When asked if the community foundation will be involved with WCBHS again, Edwards said he "can't speak for the board."
    "They typically go project by project, year by year," he said. "We have given grants to other nonprofit community organizations as well and we are very pleased with the turnout here and the work of Fair Hill for special needs children and adults."
    "We donate to different organizations in the area that need money or help," said Elly Culotta, owner of the Lake Equestrian Center with Sal Culotta. "This year it was Fair Hill Farm Riding Academy, who teach handicapped children to ride and it's also good for the mind and spirit. The other was Dyberry Day Camp, who also help handicapped children. A Western show was held Saturday and an English show was Sunday. It's supposed to be fun."
    The WCBHS used to be held at the Wayne County Fairgrounds, "but it got too big," so they had to spread it out.
    "It used to be at the fairgrounds, but we only had one ring and the show got too big," said Pat Walsh, a member of the WCBHS committee. "We needed two rings and Elly had been on board pretty much from the start. With two rings it gave us the ability to move the show around because we ran out of daylight."
    Page 2 of 3 - He said about seven years into doing the show, it allowed them to move their dates up a few weeks, to "not have to fight" the darkness at night.
    "We ended up at the fairgrounds sometimes with headlights on cars," Walsh stated. "This made more sense for us."
    Walsh also explained the difference between Western and English-style riding.
    "There are a lot of different disciplines in both types," he said. "There's groundwork with both English and western."
    With the WCBHS, English has a jumping section. There were some disciplines where competitors were judged "strictly on the rider" and their ability to control the horse, how they sit the horse and its presence. Walsh added that there is other stuff, like judging on the horse itself and "how it handles everything."
    Walsh said that the best way to tell the difference between the two styles is that western is "cowboy riding."
    "The western saddle has a different, design," he said. "Boots and cowboy hats are mandatory. With English, there's a different type of boot. They wear jouffers and jackets. They are more elite looking, like hunter-style."
    The WCBHS "always gives" to nonprofit organizations.
    "One of ours started with 4-H, who have no way to come up with funding," Walsh stated. "We've given funds to the library women's intervention resource center as well. A couple years ago we hooked up with Fair Hill. They were very supportive. They went out and shook bushes to get a lot of sponsorships which was what we needed. They were very supportive in that. This year another sponsor is Dyberry Day Camp. This is all for the people that need a little help."
    Walsh stated that the committee meets and everyone puts a choice in. He said that they try to go with just two a year because you "never know" how big the show will be.
    "If you give a dollar it will be appreciated, but if you can give $100 it's going to get something done," he said.
    He said the funds are broken up between the recipients based on need.
    "We sit down and see where the money is needed," Walsh said. "Every dime that comes in from every donation we get goes right out."
    People from all over have participated in the WCBHS.
    "We've had people from New York and New Jersey come down," Walsh stated. "As time goes on you get your name out there. Competitors also like that we give away nice prizes, including cash prizes. It costs money to go on the road with the horses."
    Page 3 of 3 - Walsh said people have come from Clarks Summit, Harvey's Lake, Wilkes-Barre, Bloomsburg and even Connecticut to compete. There are local competitors as well.
    At this year's show there were 54 horses with the western competition and around 60 with the English competition.
    "There are different classes they can go in," Walsh said. "Sometimes there are as many as 12 horses in one class."
    The WCBHS started with the Downtown Honesdale Revitalization, when then president of the group, Dan O'Neill, asked Walsh what they could do, where Walsh suggested a horse show.
    The show has taken place at Lake Equestrian for the past "five or six years."
    "There's a lot of work to put on a horse show," said Walsh. "This isn't something you start a month ahead. We usually get together in March and start soliciting for funds. It's what you have to try to do. We need the people of Wayne County to support it."
    Past beneficiaries of the show have included Honesdale Public Library, Lake and Salem Public Library, Wayne County Arts Alliance, Honesdale EMS, Wayne County Ambulance, Wayne County 4-H, Human Resource Center, Wayne County YMCA and The Wayne County Food Pantry.

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