The backside at Canterbury Downs in Shakopee, Minn., used to be home to Tart, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred mare, and the ex-racehorse relocated to Aiken from Minnesota with her owner/rider Linda Murphy.
The rider/horse combination were among those participating in the Fourth Annual FOTAS Hunter Pace at Three Runs Plantation Saturday morning. The event featured two flights, a first flight that included jumping efforts and the hilltoppers.
“She events, and I ride her with the Whiskey Road Hounds,” said Murphy.
The hunter pace serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Friends of the Aiken County Animal Shelter. The organization was founded as a way of providing support to the county's homeless pets. The event's luncheon was catered by The Red Pepper. Volunteers and the Serteens from South Aiken High School also made their presence felt during the hunter pace.
“This is the year of the shelter,” said Mary Lou Welch, a member of FOTAS. “We'll be breaking ground a month from now, which is a very exciting thing. FOTAS has worked extremely hard with the county for the last three-and-a-half years to get to this point. The event has always been supported by the horse community in a big way. Every year, it's gotten bigger and bigger.”
Cisco, a 14-year-old stock horse, is a spirited competitor, having competed in team roping and cutting, and is currently a working ranch horse, said Mona Blume, who rode him Saturday.
Rescue horse Pepper, a 23-year-old gelding, was among the hunter pace's equine participants who enjoyed Saturday morning's cooler temperatures.
“He's a Florida Cracker-Quarter Horse cross,” said Jackie Roberts. “This is a great way to see the property on Three Runs Plantation, and a good way to see people.”
One of the team's participating in the hunter pace was composed of a mother and daughter, and a third member. Rebecca Goldberg rode with her mother Anne Kiser, and Linda Donovan. Goldberg rode Donovan's horse William.
“He's a 24-year-old Thoroughbred gelding,” said Goldberg. “I rode him for the first time in the Hitchcock Woods. He was so enthusiastic and precious.”
Children at a therapeutic riding camp used to finger paint on Black Tie Affair, a 10-year-old Draft Cross, who was purchased by Lori Peacock.
“I'll be doing first flight,” said Peacock. “He's a fox hunter and loves to jump.”