Miniature horse club plans 12th annual show

BLACKFOOT (AP) — Although many people think Shetland ponies and miniature horses are cute and fun to look at, the majority have no idea what their owners do with the pint-sized equines.

That’s why officials with the Snake River Miniature Horse Club (SRMHC) are encouraging the public to come to their 12th annual Blackfoot show today and Saturday and see just what those cute, little horses can do.

“It’s interesting. (So many people see them out) in our pastures and wonder what we do with them,” said Bellia Wheeless, president of SRMHC. “This is what we do with them.”

This year’s show will take place at the Eastern Idaho State Fair grounds in Blackfoot starting each day at 8 a.m. There is no admission cost.

Karen Drake, secretary of SRMHC, said those who attend the event will be able to watch the horses work there way through various obstacles, depending on their handler’s verbal commands and body language for guidance. They will also perform jumps.

“They have to learn how to jump on their own,” Drake said, adding that they don’t have a rider — just someone running along side of them.

The Shetland ponies and miniature horses will also participate in driving, showmanship, and costume events among others, Drake said.

“In the liberty class, the horse is turned loose to play for a minute and a half,” she said, adding that the equines like showing off while the music is playing. “They have such personality.”

Drake raises both miniature horses and Shetland ponies, and she said she likes working with the animals.

“(I enjoy their) disposition; they want to please and they’re easy to train,” she said, adding that they’re not as intimidating as a large horse and they love attention.

SRMHC’s annual show is believed to be the largest sanctioned event of its kind in Idaho. It is expected to draw 80 horses or more, and people from throughout Idaho and surrounding states, organizers said.

Drake hopes community members will also come to the show to see the horses and talk to their owners, who are glad to answer questions, she said.

“Come out and see what these little horses are capable of,” she said.