John Manning, who with wife Beth owns Biscuit Hill Farm in Shelburne, Mass., (out of which the Amherst College Equestrian Team trains), was judging in Alaska for the first time at the 35th Annual Alaska Hunter/Jumper Association Inc. Horse Show, and came away enlightened.
“Considering Alaska only has 686,000 people in the entire huge state, the quality of the horses and riders here is unbelievably good,” Manning said. “I’m impressed. They have nice horses, and I know some of them go down to show at Thermal (Calif.), Gulfport (Miss.) and other places too. Some of these horses are rather fancy, and there are some talented ones too.”
As for how Alaska’s equitation riders measure up to those from the lower 48, Manning said: “The riders are pretty comparable. Maybe not as far as being able to go [East] and do the Finals, but they’re comparable. The general quality of riding is certainly above average, given the size of the population they’re drawing from.”