Horse show opens the 2018 Manistee County Fair

ONEKAMA —  The 2018 Manistee County Fair officially opened on Sunday morning with the hosting of the  annual Horse Show at the fairgrounds.

Chelsea Tetzlaff's horse stands perfectly still and in perfect form while she talks with judge Rich Fitch.

Chelsea Tetzlaff’s horse stands perfectly still and in perfect form while she talks with judge Rich Fitch.

Show organizer Elaine Bossingham said the number of entrants was down slightly this year, but everyone was excited at the possibility of winning a ribbon or trophy.

“We have about 10 horses entered and have some really nice trophies donated by previous 4-H showmen.” she said. “We will also have ribbons, medals, and other fun giveaways.”

The horse show included classes for every age group including open classes for adults, such as showmanship (in-hand classes) as well as English and Western riding classes and fun classes at the end of the day. There were different classes for Pee Wee, Beginners, Seniors, Jack Benny and Independent riders.

Bossingham said that the fun classes included a down-and-back race, a costume class, and a new class that will be added for the first time.

“We are going to round out our day with something new called a freedom class,” she explained. “The showman can bring music and play it over the loudspeaker, and they turn the horse loose in the arena. It’s judged on the movement of the horse and how it coincides with the music that they’re playing, and at the end, how well the exhibitor can catch their horse.”

For some the young entrants this was their first opportunity to compete. What made that easier for them was the show was judged by Rich Fitch who did a great job of talking to each of the competitors and explaining what they needed to look for in future competitions.

“Our judge is definitely giving them some education, so when they are older they can definitely move on to the next level to compete,” said Bossingham.

Bossingham said education in competing is important for the younger children.

“We changed things around a bit and instead of our youngest class being called the cloverbuds, it is leadline and pee-wee class,” she said. “Kids who aren’t yet ready to maneuver the horse by themself can have their parent with them, and for the kids who are able to walk or possibly trot they have the option to be in that class as well. It makes it a more comfortable atmosphere for the younger people.”

No matter the size of the show, Bossingham felt that it provides an opportunity for local riders to improve their skills and deepen their relationship with the horse.

“There are so many shows that people go to this time of year but this is a great one in particular for local riders who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity to show.”“I think the most rewarding aspect is the bond created between the horse and the rider, and what they can learn and how they can improve, which is more than winning and earning prizes.”

Bossingham also praised the fair board for preparing the arena and making it ready for the show.

“The footing is really good and nice and even,” she said. “We have had a lot of dedication this year from the fair board, so it has worked out really well.”

Complete results of the winners of the 2018 Manistee County Fair Horse Show will be published in an upcoming edition of the News Advocate this week.

Today at the fair will be entry day for all the exhibits and animals. There also will be the weigh-in/Pullorium testing for the animals.

Tuesday is free admission and the 4-H programs shift into high gear with the swine, sheep, cattle and goat judging. There also will be judging in the open class, pavilion and 4-H exhibits in the merchant building.


Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at

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