Not too long ago, when you talked about Aiken’s equestrian activities, you would just be talking about things that happen in the colder months, between, say, November and May. Over the summer months, Aiken’s horsemen kept a low profile, training their horses in the early morning hours before the sun got too strong, or turning them out for the summer, or leaving town altogether.
These days however, the calendar has expanded, and there are organized horse activities all summer long. For polo players, there will once again be a summer league at 302 Polo Club. This is the fifth year of organized summer polo in the county.Practices will be Sundays at 9 am and Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 pm. This is a change from prior years, when all of the practices were held in the morning. The league starts on June 23. Check out the 302 Polo website for more information. (www.302polo.com).
For the eventing crowd, there will be clinics at both Full Gallop Farm and Paradise Farm. Full Gallop will have Steven Bradley in June and Ryan Wood in July, while Lellie Ward, who owns Paradise Farm, will conduct her own clinics in June, July and August. Full Gallop will also have one unrecognized combined training event per month, culminating in their recognized horse trials on August 28 and 29. (For more information: www.fullgallopenterprises.com orwww.paradisefarmaiken.com)
For the hunter/jumper crowd, there will also be shows, including economically priced schooling shows at Belvoir Farm in Windsor (www.belvoirfarm.com), as well as at Red Top Farm in Johnston. Highfields Event Center will hold a local show on July Fourth weekend. In addition, a number of trainers will continue working with their horses and students in Aiken while showing in North Carolina, Kentucky and farther afield.
Things might be a little slower around town, especially in the month of July, but the Aiken horse world does not grind to a halt just because it is a little bit warm. Of course, many people in the community are just resting up for another action-packed September.