While The Big E hosts its own horse show during the fair each September, the Coliseum on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition welcomes equine events all year-round such as this weekend’s Massachusetts Quarter Horse Association Annual Spring Show Circuit.
The public is welcome for free to watch the various competitions during the show, which runs May 16-20 in West Springfield.
“I think the public would enjoy watching our reining and ranch horse riders, which offers a little more excitement than our many confirmation classes, where our horses are judged on how well they meet breed standards. In reining, for example, horses will make patterns……fast and slow…..and do circles and spins,” said Marge Tanner, a member of the Massachusetts Quarter Horse Association board of directors.
“To me, there is no other horse than a Quarter Horse….it’s all about their temperament and versatility,” she added.
Tanner began showing Quarter Horses when she was nine years old.
“That was back in the ’70s and ’80s, but I didn’t have my own horse until the mid-’80s. As I grew older, I didn’t show for a long time, then my daughter became interested and started showing. That’s when I got involved with the Massachusetts Quarter Horse Association,” Tanner said.
“My daughter hasn’t show for a few years now, so our quarter horse just hangs out at home,” she added.
Tanner said vendors at the show will be selling everything from tac supplies to clothing such as t-shirts, boots, hats and jeans, as well as jewelry and other items bearing the likeness of horses.
Before heading out to the Eastern States Exposition to watch the competitions, here are five fun facts to know about Quarter Horses:
- The Quarter Horse got its name because of its fast speed, 50 miles per hour or slightly more. It is known for outdistancing other horses in quarter-mile races, especially in Virginia in the late 1700s.
- One of America’s oldest recognized horse breeds – a cross between American horses of Spanish descent and British horse imported to Virginia – was born in 1611.
- Weighing upwards to 1,000 pounds and standing 14-16 hands tall, Quarter Horses have a lifespan of up to 30 years.
- Quarter Horses have the distinction of being the second most popular breed in the world behind the Arabian horse.
- The largest population of Quarter Horses can be found in Texas – over 420,000 living and riding in the state.