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Horsing around for a cause

April 27, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Tenth grader Tiffany Minassian from La Canada High School, rides "Yuri" as she prepares for the 90th annual Children's Horse Show, sponsored by the Flintridge La Canada Guild of Huntington Memorial Hospital at the Flintridge Riding Club on Friday, April 15, 2011 in La Canada. (Photo by Libby Cline)
Tenth grader Tiffany Minassian from La Canada High School,…

The annual Children’s Horse Show at the La Cañada Flintridge Riding Club, which returns this weekend, has changed slightly each year of its 90-year existence.

It remains the same at its core, though — a family-oriented event free-of-charge to the public that’s staged by a small group of volunteers, said Kris Korkunis, who’s co-chairing the event for the second consecutive year.

The Children’s Horse Show, sponsored by the Flintridge La Cañada Guild of the Huntington Memorial Hospital, is the only Children’s Class A horse show in America. Riders come from across the United States to compete, show their horses and meet requirements for later participation in Olympic trials.

“The horse show is huge, it’s a 90-year tradition,” said the event’s co-chairman Lauren Oakes, who’s been a part of the guild for the past 25 years. “It’s the oldest children’s show continuously running in the nation. It’s a way of life in a city like La Cañada that you won’t find anywhere else.”

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There’s a lot to experience in the event, which begins at 8 a.m. Friday and runs through Sunday afternoon, from competitive riding, booths of refreshments, food, unique merchandise and more.

Arlene Anders, an internationally-acclaimed sculptress, will bring 50 of her bronze sculptures for display and purchase.

For Korkunis, though, nothing can compare to the riding.

“A lot of these kids start when they’re really young and they ride all the way through — it will be a part of their lives forever,” Korkunis said. “That traditional part of it is really special. To me, that is the most heartwarming part of it, seeing these kids grow.”

Many world-renowned equestrians have gone on to accomplish much in the riding world after getting their feet wet in the annual Children’s Horse Show, which is now being considered for “heritage status” by the United States Equestrian Federation.

Susie Hutchison, a U.S. Olympic team and internationally awarded rider; Jimmy Williams, a world renowned rider, coach and trainer; and Hap Hansen, a renowned rider, trainer and judge all have participated in the show.

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