ON THE SCENE: Lake Placid’s horseless horse show

Horseless horse show Short Stirrup participants at the Lake Placid Horse Shows pose at the North Elba Show Grounds. (Provided photo — Naj Wikoff)

Many young people today are concerned about the health and well-being of others and our planet, and they increasingly act to address those concerns. One young rider at the Lake Placid Horse Shows decided to organize a fundraiser for Just World International, a foundation affiliated with Federation Equestre Internationale, the international governing body of equestrian sports.

Just World International aims to break the cycle of poverty by uniting the global equestrian community to fund local partners providing basic needs programs to children worldwide. Just World focuses on four interconnected issues: education, nutrition, health and hygiene and cultural development programs. Just World believes that addressing food shortages or better-paying jobs is not enough to lift children out of poverty; they need access to quality education, health care, hygiene, nutrition and more.

As a participant in the Lake Placid Horse Shows, one known for providing a wide array of competitive and educational experiences for people of all ages, it’s perhaps no surprise that Corinne Sweeney,19, decided to organize a contest for youth, a horseless horse show organized in three classes.

“I have volunteered multiple times in support of Just World activities over the past few years,” said Corinne. “It supports educational and other services for youth living in impoverished communities in multiple countries worldwide. Their goal is to lift these families out of poverty. I have been coming to this horse show all my life. I thought it would be a great place to spread the word, spread the message, and raise some money to support the health of youth and their families.”

Corinne, who is from Oyster Bay, Long Island, said she supports Just World’s values and believes it does good work. As she has developed many good friends through volunteering, Corinne felt it was time for her to organize a horseless horse show in Lake Placid. Corinne didn’t have exact numbers, but she thought she had over 30 participants, an excellent start for what she hopes will become an annual activity at the horse show.

Horseless horse show Junior Jumper participants at the Lake Placid Horse Shows pose at the North Elba Show Grounds. (Provided photo — Naj Wikoff)

With the help of several adult volunteers, Corinne set up a nine-gate course for the three slightly overlapping age groups of kids to race around. Points were deducted if they knocked over any of the gates. The gates were raised for each group, and the kids were all assigned numbers pinned to their backs. Like show jumping, all contests featured a mix of boys and girls, and the young athletes had time to walk the course to get a sense of the layout. Winners got around the course the fastest with the fewest errors.

The kids went all out with adults shouting directions if they lost their way or urged them to keep going if they knocked over a gate. Results were tight, such as in the Grant Prix, which resulted in a half-second between first and third.

“I am delighted with how it turned out,” said Corrine after the race. We raised quite a bit of money, I am excited to count it up, and I think everybody had a lot of fun; kids and parents. I think it will be a fun tradition to keep going.”

Paige won Short Stirrup. Chase was second and Adelyn third.

Parker won first in Junior Jumper, Kathleen second and Audrey in third.

Horseless horse show Grand Prix participants at the Lake Placid Horse Shows pose at the North Elba Show Grounds. (Provided photo — Naj Wikoff)

In the Grand Prix, Audrey was first, Parker second and Zach was third.

As event emcee Marty Bauman said, every contestant was a winner.

“Lake Placid is one of my favorite places in the world, on or off horses,” said Corinne. “I love it here.”

(Naj Wikoff lives in Keene Valley. He has been covering events for the Lake Placid News for more than 15 years.)

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