|By DOUG GRAVES
DAYTON, Ohio — The annual Dayton Horse Show, with all its glamour and glitz, attracts the top horses, owners and trainers from across the Midwest.
The apparel of the riders rivals the most expensive formal wear around, and horses found at this show are more expensive than the homes of many owners.
In addition, many of these pristene stable entrances could have a special segment on HGTV.
But not all horse owners are caught up in fancy trailers and huge stables. A few, like Cathy Schueler of Ft. Wayne, Ind. and Sue Smiley of Miamisburg, Ohio compete against the best the Midwest has to offer - with the only horse they own.
“I’m a city girl, and I board my horse with a friend who lives on a farm,” Schueler said. “This is my fourth trip to the Dayton Horse Show, and I came with the only horse I have.”
Schueler and her horse, Backstage Pass, have attended shows in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan.
“Because this is such an expensive hobby I own just one horse, and I do my own training,” Schueler said. “This is very expensive for me, and I never break even. The good thing is there is a sense of accomplishment, and there’s a lot of camaraderie in this business. This gives me a chance to meet new acquaintances and make good friendships.”
It had been exactly one year since Smiley competed in the showring with her 18 year-old gelding, Khemo Sundance. So one can understand her jubilation after finishing second overall in the Arabian Western Pleasure class at last week’s show in Dayton.
“I haven’t competed since last year’s Dayton Horse Show, so this is a bit surprising,” said Smiley, who shares a love of horses with her husband, Tim. “When I was 17, my parents took me to the Dayton Horse Show and it was the most thrilling thing I had ever seen in my life.”
Ten years later Smiley purchased her first horse and has been riding this same gelding ever since. She rides the horse on her 22-acre farm on Upper Miamisburg Road. This, she calls, casual riding.
The Dayton Horse Show, with all its pagentry and shippers from across the country vying for top cash prizes and trophies, is anything but laid back.
This farm news was published in the August 9, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.