By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
They had their fun at the new horse arena.
This past Saturday, the Mahaska County Saddle Club held a horse show at the new horse arena on the northwest corner of the Southern Iowa Fairgrounds.
Sharis Claver, president of the Mahaska County Saddle Club, said the club got going this past January. According to Claver, there once was a saddle club in Mahaska County many years ago. She also noted that there are other saddle clubs in the surrounding area.
Claver said the new horse arena is a project several years in the making. Right now, there are plans to put a concession stand near the arena, as well as an area for camping.
The Mahaska County Saddle Club held a regular open show at the new arena during this year's Southern Iowa Fair, said Claver. However, Saturday's show was just for fun.
Games familiar to those involved in equestrian sports such as “Cowboy Rescue” and “The Boot Race” were part of Saturday's event at the new horse arena.
Saturday's horse show was truly an all-ages affair. Claver said involving people of all ages in the show helps to bring in more of the community. She said that not only do younger people get to learn from older, more experienced riders, but there is an overall sense of camaraderie, as well. The new arena isn't just for The Mahsaka County Saddle Club to enjoy. Claver said there have been groups such as those involved with barrel racing that have shown interest in utilizing the facility.
Claver noted that, when the arena plays host to events involving those from outside the area, the local economy will benefit from these people spending money on things like food and gasoline locally.
Another horse show hosted by The Mahaska County Saddle Club is scheduled for Oct. 12. Claver said people are invited to come, even if they don't participate in the show, noting that it's entertaining nonetheless.
Claver said the whole purpose of The Mahaska County Saddle Club is to give back to the local 4H and FFA youth.
Back in July, Sylvia Brown, a horse superintendent for Mahaska County at the Southern Iowa Fair, said the new arena is 140 feet by 260 feet and that it includes two walkthrough gates on either side. Around 30 to 35 area youth in 4-H will use the arena, noted Brown at that time.