Saturday, May 04, 2013

All for the fun of it

If the cold, snow, mud, and occasional sunshine during the 2013 Midwest Horse Fair were a bother, you couldn’t tell by hanging around Amber Severson. Amber was busy and she was enjoying herself completely.

“It’s just fun,” she said as she put the finishing touches on her Friesian gelding, Doeke. As a member of the Great Lakes Friesian Horse Association, Amber had signed up to participate in the club’s breed demonstration in the Coliseum. The theme of the 2013 horse fair was “Horses & Heroes” and the Friesian group costumed accordingly: Abe Lincoln, Knights of the Roundtable, rider less horse, a police officer and a fire fighter to mention several.

Amber dressed as a Cottage Grove fire fighter and her sister, Shannon Krueger, Janesville, partnered with her as a mounted police officer. The process of getting ready meant preparing the two horses, getting into the costumes, and then safely performing in the Coliseum with the rest of the group.

 “It’s fun to be able to show off and promote the Friesian breed,” Amber said, once again with the word fun tossed in. “I rode on one four or five years ago and I just fell in love with Friesians. They’re my dream horse.”

Dreams turn into goals and for Amber, finding her dream horse became just that. In 2010, she found and bought Doeke as a yearling. The playful four-year-old is the center of attention being hauled off to shows and trail rides all season long.

Doeke wasn’t altogether certain about the performance in the Coliseum and provided Amber and the audience with a small thrill when they entered the ring. “He came up pretty high and my first thought was ‘are you going to do this all the while we’re in here.’ You only have a couple of minutes,” she said.

Horse and rider settled in. That was a good thing because from the breed demonstration in the Coliseum, Amber had to immediately change outfits and participate in the new “fashion show” over in the arena building.

“The fashion show was new this year. There were about 80 applicants and 26 were selected to be in the show,” Amber explained.  “My riding suit came from the Horse Emporium and I had a saddle pad on Doeke from CSI Saddle Pads.”

Just like on a fashion runway in New York, horses and their owners paraded into the arena one-by-one while an announcer detailed the various equine fashions being shown. Amber and Doeke had transitioned from hero outfits to high fashion equine models seamlessly.

“That stuff is kind of pricey,” Amber noted. The coat she modeled was about $220 and the pad on Doeke was a $300 item. “No, I didn’t get to keep them.”

The fun of participating in the horse fair and then going to events around the area come naturally to Amber. She grew up near Deerfield with horses as part of the family. “I’ve been riding my entire life,” Amber said.

And now Amber’s family will one day say the same. Sierra, now five, is on horseback frequently at Hobby Horse Stable near Stoughton where Amber boards. One-year-old Cameron gets out to the barn already. Amber’s husband, Lance, is a Dane County Deputy Sheriff and quietly supports the equine emersions of the family. Amber works at WPS when not riding or tending the family.

In fact, Sierra is likely to compete in halter and walk/trot classes this season. Toby is the second horse boarded at Hobby Horse and the Arabian Pinto has the temperament for easing youngsters into the saddle. “Toby is all clipped and ready to go,” Amber noted.

It’s the 16.2-hand Friesian Doeke that steals away the attention, however. Something that large is bound to draw a crowd.

“It takes some devotion. The work is all worth it when you get to share your breed with everybody,” Amber said of the horse fair. “You take your horse out for a walk and people just keep coming up and talking about how beautiful he is and asking all kinds of questions.”

That’s fun.

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