It’s a tradition unlike any around town.
For the last 75 years, Rock Creek Riding Club has hosted the Rock Creek Horse Show located at 3114 Rock Creek Drive, just outside of Seneca Park.
The long-standing riding competition has brought many of the equestrian industry’s finest to St. Matthews. This year’s horse show took place June 5 through 9 and included various classes of competition from equitation to show pleasure driving, amateur fine harness and hackney pony. Premiums and trophies for the event totaled more than $40,000.
Much of the venue was filled with family and friends, including a seventh generation competitor, Mary Jane Glasscock-Kirkpatrick. Currently residing in Atlanta, Glasscock-Kirkpatrick returned to Louisville for the horse show and to catch up with relatives who live in the area.
“I grew up here, and so my family all lives here and love coming back home and supporting a local show,” she said. “It’s a great atmosphere, so much fun, so many friends and longtime friends that I’ve known since I was a kid.”
The life of a rider involves plenty of travel throughout the U.S. and takes a ton of dedication and sacrifice throughout the spring and summer months.
“(From) April until August’s World’s Championship, these people do nothing except all of these horse shows, from one to the next,” said Todd Calvert of Glasscock boutique, which supplies elegant attire worn by many of the riders in classes such as pleasure driving. “It’s amazing. This really takes a lot of time.”
Coming and going from competitions can also be a bit hectic, requiring the constant loading and unloading of luggage. “(It’s) messy; you have to pack, unpack, pack, unpack,” said Rose Marie Wheeler, a 13-year-old rider who competed this weekend along with her mother, Linda Fischer Wheeler.
While the two take riding lessons together and travel all around the country, Linda, who lives in Anchorage, said Rock Creek is especially significant to her compared to other horse shows.
“Rock Creek was my first horse show when I was nine years old,” Linda said. “I’ve been coming to this for a long, long time.”
This weekend, Linda’s return to Rock Creek was a successful venture. Showing four times on Thursday, she won three of her classes. Rose Marie also achieved first place in the one class in which she competed that evening.
“I think our ponies have a certain beauty and grace and also athleticism, personality all of their own. There are so many factors involved in it,” Linda said. “It’s one of my favorite horse shows; just the whole ambience of Rock Creek is different because with the park atmosphere (across the street) and it’s nice because people will be jogging or whatever in the park and you’ll see a lot of them stop and look at the horse show and wonder what’s going on.”
For more information on the Rock Creek Horse Show, visit www.rockcreekhorseshow.com.
Photos by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune