Raleigh, NC (October 10, 2017) – The 2017 Sport Horse National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Show held in Raleigh, North Carolina was among the many events along the eastern U.S. coast faced with the forecast of Hurricane Irma this season. Luckily, when warnings sounded, quick-thinking competitors pulled together to keep the horses safe and ensure that the show could still go on. Kristi Herbst, one of these competitors, was rewarded for her willingness to pitch in with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award. The award was presented by the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, a multifaceted equestrian show facility and a sponsor of the Arabian Championships.
The Jacksonville Equestrian Center, located on 80 acres in Jacksonville, Florida, was opening its doors to horses evacuating from more dangerous locations before the impending hurricane while the 2017 Sport Horse National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Show kicked off. Even in North Carolina, it soon became clear that the competitors at the Arabian Championships may not be out of harm’s reach. In the middle of the show, the tent stabling went under mandatory evacuation.
“We had to take down a tent because of the hurricane, and there were 90 horses under that tent,” explained competitor Kristi Herbst. “We had to move the horses into other stalls, and make temporary stalls out of the warm-up ring.” Despite the major upset to the competition, Herbst saw only the silver lining. “It was absolutely wonderful to see how everybody just pulled together and gave up their feed stalls and their tack rooms. We gave up two of our stalls to make room for horses, and people used our golf carts and our trucks to move their stuff. Everyone helped one another and said, ‘Okay, we’ve got this situation and we have to deal with it, so let’s do it!’”
Herbst’s assistance in the situation and her positive attitude throughout made her the perfect recipient for the Jacksonville Equestrian Center Sportsmanship Award. The award is presented to one competitor at the National Arabian Championships who displays exemplary sportsmanship during the competition. Herbst received a tri-colored sportsmanship ribbon, a prize basket of goodies, and an embroidered cooler for her horse from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.
Even amidst the hurricane preparation, Herbst and her horses put in outstanding performances throughout the show. “A horse that we bred, raised, and trained, A Ring of Fyre+/, went double National Champion,” said Herbst. Besides a National Championship in-hand and in dressage training level, the horse earned a spot in the top ten placings in five other classes with Herbst and her daughters in the saddle. “He was amazing. The show was excellent for A Ring of Fyre, for our farm, and for our breeding program.” Having impressive results with A Ring of Fyre was extra special for Herbst and her family, of Herbst Farms in Farmington, Missouri, because of their long history with the five-year-old horse and his ancestors. “I was there when he was born. We actually bred his mother, and own his grandmother, too. We were just really pleased that a third generation horse that we bred, raised, and trained on our farm did so well!”
Herbst Farm also showed Gehrhearts Magic, an 11-year-old half-Trakehner, half-Arabian stallion. “He was just put under saddle this year, and won a Reserve National Championship in-hand, and was top ten in the Half-Arabian Sport Horse Under Saddle Dressage Type. He’s amazing!” said Herbst.
Herbst is proud of the show results, and of letting nothing – even a hurricane warning – stand in the way. “I’m grateful to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for sponsoring the sportsmanship award. I think it really makes everybody aware of how important it is for us all to pull together,” she said. “I look forward to coming to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center someday to participating in an event or show.”
Now that the Jacksonville Equestrian Center is empty of hurricane evacuees and has cleaned up after Irma, it’s business as usual at this popular equestrian venue. The next event will be Community Night Schooling on October 17, then the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair Association 4H Horse Show on October 20-21. For more information on the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call 904-255-4215.