No horsing around at Sparty Fair - Titusville Herald: News

No horsing around at Sparty Fair

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Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2019 5:00 am

SPARTANSBURG — It was a good day for the Titusville area at the Spartansburg Fair Tuesday, with around a dozen local residents taking part in the equestrian showing contests and several of them claiming ribbons along the way.

For many of those showing off their horses, the competitions were a family affair, with either members of multiple generations or siblings taking part in the event together. One such example was mother-daughter team Kristen Crispin and 3-year-old Rylynn See. The pair are Titusville natives, and each took third in their respective events.

“I was excited for her,” Crispin said of her daughter. While see had competed last year, Crispin said See was much more capable when it came to the contest this year.

Crispin was showing her horse Nakoda, while See brought along her miniature horse Fat Boy. Crispin said that See enjoys dragging Fat Boy everywhere with her and playing with the horse as much as possible.

Centerville resident Faith Estes is among the most competitively minded equestrians in the Titusville area, or at least that’s how her family describes her. However, showing alongside her 28-year-old sister, Ashley Estes, on Tuesday gave her the chance to ease back just a little bit.

Faith Estes claimed first for driving in her division, as well as a fourth-place and third-place finish in showmanship and grooming classes, respectively. Ashley Estes, who was showing on behalf of her mother who couldn’t attend, attained a fourth-place and second-place spot in her showmanship and grooming contest, as well as third place in the halter competition.

“It feels pretty good,” Ashley Estes said of the pair’s performance. “I’m proud of her.”

While Faith Estes was glad for her ribbons from the day, she has her eyes set on a much bigger prize. Having turned 18, it’s her last chance to compete in the 4-H divisions, and she wants to make it all the way to the state-level contests.

“I want to go back to states for my jumping class, for sure,” Faith Estes said.

Faith Estes showed her miniature horse Ziva at the Spartansburg Fair, while Ashley Estes brought along her mother’s horse Mai. Faith Estes will be taking both to the district contests occurring at the Crawford County Fairgrounds from Sept. 13 to Sept. 15, where she’ll compete against equestrians from across Northwestern Pennsylvania for a shot at the state contests. Doing so will require her being among the top finishers at the event, something Faith Estes is pushing herself to achieve.

Ashley Estes, for her part, is doing her best to encourage her sister. While she said Faith Estes is a “little nervous now,” she thinks her younger sibling will be ready once she reaches the ring.

“I just like seeing her get ribbons,” Ashley Estes said.

Brother and sister Logan and Haley Sutton, who both hail from Titusville, both said the thing they most enjoy about horses is going trail riding. While Tuesday’s contests didn’t have anything like that, the Suttons still gave it their all, with Logan Sutton claiming a Reserve Champion title and Haley winning a fourth-place ribbon.

The pair were inducted into the world of horse rearing by their grandmother, with Haley Sutton also listing her mother as an influence. Logan Sutton, who is 11, said expressed gratitude for his Reserve Champion win, but was also hoping to get just that little bit higher in the placement with his pony Brownie.

“It feels good that she listened, but it’s always better to get Champion,” Logan Sutton said.

Raising Brownie takes not only a lot of training and cleaning, but also keeping the pony on a strict diet. The smaller equines can quickly grow fat if they aren’t fed the right thing.

Haley Sutton feels a special connection with her horse, Emmy, due to the fact that the pair have practically grown up together. The horse is only a year younger than the 15-year-old Haley Sutton, and the two have been together the entire time.

“She knows me,” Haley Sutton said. “She listens to me.”

It wasn’t all siblings showing at Tuesday’s contests, however, as there were plenty of other local residents who were competing without another family member to contend with. Hydetowner Hannah Donovan, age 11, was one such participant, who brought along her horse Ace and her mini horse Bullet. The former claimed a Reserve Champion title, while the latter shot straight to the top with a Grand Champion win.

While both of the horses Donovan brought to the contest are 7 years old, the two couldn’t be more different. Ace, according to her, is calm and laidback, only getting into trouble when he’s hanging out with his “buddy,” Sapphire, another horse Donovan’s family owns.

Bullet, meanwhile, was described as a “baby,” who can be extremely stubborn at times.

Along with the Reserve Champion win, Ace also got fifth place in a showmanship class and a third-place spot in a grooming contest, both of which Donovan said have very tough competition. While Ace wasn’t trained as a showmanship horse, Donovan said he’s more well-rounded than Bullet, and generally competent at most kinds of contests. Donovan is currently training a third horse, Peach, as a western pleasure competitor, and may bring her to the fair next year.

Titusvillian Nicole Malone had one of her best showings ever at the fair on Tuesday, claiming a Reserve Champion, Grand Champion and Division Champion ribbon across her many contests. This was the first time she ever claimed that third spot, something she said she feels “really good” about.

Malone, who is 21, brought her horse Reversible Conclusion and her pony Baxter to the fair, with the latter claiming the Grand Champion and Division Champion titles.

The contests, which has equestrians lead their animals around the ring on foot, is a bit less exciting than the normal kind of horse activities Malone is used to. Along with her fiancé, she takes part in several rodeo events, such as barrel racing.

“It’s a lot more than a halter class,” Malone said.

Abbagale Gessner took a bit of a risk this year when she brought her Tennessee walker/shetland pony mix Johnny to the fair, as it would be his first time competing. However, it ended up paying off in the long run, as she claimed the Reserve Grand Champion spot in her division.

“I feel proud, because it’s the first time I’ve ever done that,” Gessner said.

Gessner described Johnny as a very friendly horse, who loves to lay his head on her shoulder and get pets in return. She also jokingly said the horse helps clean up the stable, as he has a tendency to pick up scoops and other farming tools and carry them around.

Johnny is Gessner’s third horse. She got into raising the animals at 3 years old, when a friend of her father’s put her on a horse’s back and let her ride. Now, at 9 years old, she’s showing no sign of stopping.

“I love their personality, and I like to wash them, groom them and show them.”

Gessner will compete again on Thursday in the game contests with Johnny, whose prospects she feels “real good” about.

Morgan Sheely, of Pleasantville, felt somewhat lukewarm with her performance at the fair. The 10-year-old nabbed two fifth-place finishes and took fifth place with her horse Flash. However, she finds actually riding the horse to be much more fun than just showing them off, especially if its with her mother and sister, who got her into the sport.

“I enjoy riding with them and working with them,” Sheely said.

While she’s happy to take part in the showings, Sheely really hopes to take up jumping classes one day, a contest her sister competes in. As a lifelong horseback rider, she finds enjoyment in many aspects of raising equines, though admits its hard work. Duties range from cleaning out the stalls to exercising the animals, keeping them in top shape for the contest.

Other local residents who competed include Lexi Crispin, who took sixth place in her division; Bobbi Jo Cornell, who took fifth place in her divisions; and Lindsay Fink, who took first-place and third-place ribbons.

The Spartansburg Community Fair continues today. In terms of agricultural judging, there will be goat judging starting at 10 a.m., and draft horse hitch classes starting at 6 p.m.

Ray can be reached, by email, at

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