Pole bending event set for Saturday at the Ohio Horse Park

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

FRANKLIN FURNACE — While many horse shows may leave the uneducated wondering what’s going on, one organizer of an upcoming pole bending show says that the sport is perfect for spectators.

Benjamin Daniels is one of those behind the first Speed to Succeed, a pole-bending competition set for Saturday at the Ohio Horse Park in Franklin Furnace.

For the uninitiated, pole bending is a speed contest where horses weave between a row of six poles, navigating them as quickly as possible without knocking any poles over. Daniels said that it works well as a spectator sport as it requires little knowledge of horses.

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“With this, it’s a timed event that’s all based on speed,” Daniels said. “It’s really easy to understand who can go through the quickest. It’s just you versus the timer. So we’re hoping for a pretty good crowd.”

In addition to the spectators, Daniels is expecting plenty of participation from local riders, who’ll have the chance to strut their stuff in seven different events in various age groups.

“Pole bending and barrel racing are very prevalent in this area,” Daniels said. “They’re really one of the largest contingents of equine-related people in this area. So we thought it would be a good thing for the horse park to have to get our name out there.”

Besides the promotional value, the event will also be raising money for the Ohio Horse Park Center for Therapeutic Riding.

Those who do come out and pay the $3 gate fee to benefit the therapeutic center can expect a great show, Daniels said, as many of the top barrel racers and pole benders hail from this region.

Adding to the drama is the fact that the event has been sanctioned by the National Pole Bending Association and the National Barrel Horse Assocation, meaning that riders aren’t just competing for cash, but for their standing in the pole bending world.

The competition kicks off at 1 p.m. at the horse park. More information is available by calling Daniels at (614) 306-4495. Although he’s an enthusiastic fan of the sport, he said he won’t be doing any riding on Saturday.

“No, I’ll be working the event,” he said with a laugh. “I’ll be very busy, unfortunately.”