Equine enthusiasts from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia recently converged on Aiken to participate in the first show jumping event of the year at Highfields Event Center.
Last weekend's Aiken Winter Festival I, organized by Progressive Show Jumping, is the first of 30 horse shows the group will conduct across the South this year, said Cathy Cram, the show owner and organizer.
Aiken Winter Festival I, a rated show, was the overture for this weekend's show, Aiken Winter Classic I, which ends today, and next weekend's show, Aiken Winter Classic II, which runs from Thursday to Jan. 20. Both winter classic shows are United States Equestrian Federation events and are free for spectators.
The success of the shows was evident in the number of visitors. Last weekend's Aiken Winter Festival I drew 160 participants, and 320 were expected at this weekend's Aiken Winter Classic I.
Days before this weekend's event was to begin, Ms. Cram said, people were still calling trying to reserve a stall.
"The hardest thing is when people wait to the last minute to make reservations," she said. "They're disappointed; we're disappointed."
The show's owner suggests that those who want to participate in Progressive's rated shows in February and March should make reservations now.
Highfields Event Center is at 147 Warehouse Road in Aiken. For more information, call (803) 649-3505 or visit www.psjshows.com.
Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or firstname.lastname@example.org.