Gulf Coast winter Classic Horse show back for 18th year

Gulf Coast winter Classic Horse show back for 18th year
Rheinheimer says she love it, despite the hard work. (Photo source: WLOX News)

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Each winter, 13-year-old Callie Rheinheimer and her family make their way from Indiana to South Mississippi for the Gulf Coast Winter Classics Horse Show.

"Well, my dad helps at the horse shows; does stuff around the show. My mom trains, my sister helps in the barns, and we all ride in the show and compete," Rheinheimer said.

Rheinheimer says she and her horse Steel Magnolia have been training all year, and that competing isn't as easy as it looks.

"It's so much work; get up at 6 make sure your horse is clean, get your stuff ready, wear all the clothes, and make sure their stall is clean," Rheinheimer said.

However, the 13 year old says she still loves it.

"The work that you put into it is definitely worth it," Rheinheimer said.

The event is a 6 week long series held at the Harrison County fair grounds.

"There's beautiful horses, wonderful people, gorgeous atmosphere, clean, healthy, good, fun things to see," said event coordinator Janet McCarroll.

There are two types of competitions, jumpers and hunters. For non-riders, the concept may seem complicated but McCarroll says it's pretty simple.

"Horses that come and jump over fences and get judged for standards based on each class that they do," said McCarroll.

The winners get to take home a nice lump of cash.

"We give out over a million dollars in prize money," McCarroll said

It's a great economic booster for the coast, too. Organizers say there's about 1,000 horses that come to the competition annually.

"They consider 3.5 people for each horse, so that's a lot of people coming spending their money on themselves and their horses," said McCarroll.

The competition runs Sundays at 2 p.m. until March 20.

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