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Turlock riders strut their stuff at Fair horse shows
horse show
Turlock resident Madysen Fern, 13, and her horse Shorty get a lap in before the Open Gymkhana show at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds FoodMaxx Arena on Saturday. - photo by OSCAR COPLAND/The Journal

The Stanislaus County Fair kicked off the fair season last weekend with the pre-fair horse shows.

The Open Gymkhana was held on Saturday and it was one of the many horse shows the fair has scheduled that allows riders of all ages to come out and show off their skills in a series of competitive classes.

Among the riders were several Turlock residents who have been training for the fair horse show all year long.

“I started riding in April 2016,” said Emily Wilson, 8. “I train three times a week.”

During the Open Gymkhana Wilson participated in various classes: WA Pole Bending, Birangle Stake, Single Stake, CA Speed Barrel and Cloverleaf Barrels, alongside her horse Annie.

“Her name is Annie,” Wilson said when asked about her companion. “She is my million-dollar horse.”

Turlock resident Madysen Fern, 13, rode on her horse Shorty and participated in the same classes as Wilson in a different age group.

The Open Gymkhana was made up of 27 different classes, each class with its own riding style, course and age group.

Riders were not judged on riding style or horses but by how fast they could complete the course. The Open Gymkhana was judged by Lauralye Casipit, and times were only awarded to riders who completed the course without riding off-course.

High Point Buckles for the Open Gymkhana were donated to the fair by different members of the Stanislaus community and awarded to the first place of each age group at the end of the Open Gymkhana.

The Open Gymkhana show was just one of many pre-fair horse shows the Stanislaus County Fair held this past weekend.

While most of the weekend shows were open to any riders, the Stanislaus County Fair has closed shows for the 4-H and Future Farmers of America chapters in the county.

The 4-H and FFA shows kicked off Monday morning with 4-H/FFA English Style show and will conclude today with the 4-H/FFA Gymkhana.

The Stanislaus County Fair officially opens on July 14 for its 10-day run. For more information, visit