Fayette County

Vendors scurrying at Junior League horse show

A little boy in a red and white striped shirt and black riding pants trots around on a brown horse in an exhibition area at The Red Mile on Sunday afternoon.

Other than a few adults milling around and a trainer who yells instructions from time to time, no one pays much attention. There's too much work to be done.

Within the grandstand, vendors at the 2008 Lexington Junior League Horse Show's Gaited Gallery set up their shops. Downstairs from the vending area, people wait to check in with the main office at the 72nd annual horse show.

The Lexington Junior League Horse Show begins Monday and will run through Saturday. The show, the first jewel in the Triple Crown of Saddlebred showmanship, will feature more than 130 events throughout the week.

Forty-three vendors are participating this year, which Gaited Gallery chairwoman Lauren Bandy said was more than she expected. The Gaited Gallery is the horse show's merchandise area featuring clothing, jewelry, art work and, this year, a hair salon.

”It's been a good surprise,“ Bandy said. ”We had to turn a lot of people away.“

In a back corner of the vendor area, Donna and Greg Haven of Shelbyville arranged bracelets at their Heavenly Silver booth. Donna Haven said that although they are concerned about how much money attendees will spend this year given the state of the economy, she enjoyed the previous four years they sold items at the show and anticipates a fun week.

Greg Haven said he likes being able to watch some of the events in the show during breaks from selling their silver jewelry.

”I really like the people here in Lexington,“ Donna Haven said. ”You know us women like to shop.“

Bandy said she doesn't think the economy will affect the vendors at the show very much because of the variety of merchandise available.

”You can't find a lot of this stuff in stores,“ she said. ”A lot of the people who come through the Gaited Gallery are looking for unique items they can't find at the mall.“

Near the middle of the vending area, representatives of the Blue Willow Farm Youth Club in Versailles hang abstract paintings around their booth.

The paintings, called ”Mo-Neighs,“ are the result of putting paintbrushes in horses' mouths, Blue Willow Farm lesson instructor Andrea Steponaitis said. Proceeds will be donated to the American Saddlebred Horse Association youth scholarship programs, she said.

Steponaitis said she enjoys the show because she can see friends who attend from across the country.

”Everybody who knows what a Saddlebred is comes to this show,“ she said.

Steponaitis also looks forward to seeing some of her students enter events. One of her students, Katie Prows, 17, has attended the Junior League Horse Show for the past four years, but will participate in an event for the first time this year.

”I'm quite nervous,“ Katie said.

IF YOU GO

What: Lexington Junior League Horse Show

Where: The Red Mile racetrack, 1200 Red Mile Road, Lexington

When: 7 p.m. Monday.

9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday.

9 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. Wednesday. Family night events will feature activities such as pony rides offered by the Blue Willow Farm Youth Group.

9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday.

9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday.

7 p.m. Saturday.

Admission: Free to morning events; general admission is $5 for Monday-Thursday evening events and $8 Friday and Saturday nights. Reserve grandstand seating is $8 Monday-Thursday evenings and $15 Friday and Saturday.

Children 6 and under are free. Proceeds from the show benefit area charities.

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