WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) - Horse shows are a big deal in the Midwest. Yet this year, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the schedule.
"Usually our show season in the Midwest starts in May and goes til the fall," said trainer Andrea Barth. "It's been hit and miss this year with horse shows but all is well today."
Even so, the Minnesota Summer Sizzler still cantered on this weekend.
It's something that many have been doing their whole lives.
"A lot of the exhibitors keep going on and on and pass it down through generations of their families," Barth said. "It's a good place to do it."
One young competitor got into showing horses 8 years ago and has been training with his older sister.
"Before the show, we walk them around the arena so that they don't get spooked," said competitor Trenton Scheck who won his class.
The preparations start way before the weekend of the show.
"They started their training programs last fall and trained all winter," explains Barth. "When we get closer to show season, they do fine tuning and hit the ring."
With so many cancelled shows this year, the trainers are glad to be back in the ring even with social distancing guidelines and no spectators allowed.
"The atmosphere is great. I think it may be stronger because everyone has had a different routine," said Barth. "We're just so excited to cheer each other on and see each other."
While they make it look effortless, showing horses takes a lot of time. However, it can be rewarding.
"What we enjoy the most is working hard and having the achievement in the ring as well as the people you meet along the way," said Barth, who trains and shows horses alongside her husband.
"It's fun to see people, talk to them and show your horse," said Scheck.
A win on the local level is good building block for the national level, but it's more than just winning.
"It's nice to win but it's fun to just drive the horse and have a good time," said Scheck.
Competitors of all ages showed horses in several different classes.
For more on upcoming horse shows, check out the Minnesota Equestrian Center's website.