HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Getting ready to compete in a horse show takes a lot of hard work.
Emma Rheinheimer, 12, enjoyed some time with her horse Trip on Sunday. Emma is just days away from competing in this year's Gulf Coast Winter Classic Horse Shows.
"We will be jumping in the three foot hunter's, children's hunters," she said. "Today we were just flatting them and working on bending."
The Rheinheimers have been participating in the show for the past 10 years, driving hundreds of miles and more than 11 hours to make their way from Indiana to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
It's a trip Emma looks forward to every year.
"My favorite thing here is spending time with my horse, winning and going to the buffets," she said.
Although there's a lot to look forward to when it comes to the horse show, the family also takes the time to enjoy what the coast has to offer.
"We're really addicted to the food and the restaurants," said Cathy Rheinheimer. "So it's like when we're driving down, and the few days after we leave, we're like 'oh, I can't wait to get there,' and just like debating on which restaurant we're going to go to first."
Thousands are expected to participate in this year's show. The influx of visitors means more money for local businesses.
"They love the area, they like the food, they love the shopping. It's amazing how much they go and spend in the community," said event coordinator, Janet McCarroll.
Organizers estimate the six-week even will have an economic impact of more than $42 million.
"They're here for this whole time, so all that money that they would spend just living and eating and all of that goes right in," McCarroll said.
This time of year brings a big boost for coast tourism and a lot of fun for the Rheinheimers.
"Just trying to enjoy the whole area, and just have family time, as well as being in the show at the same time," said Cathy Rheinheimer.
The 20th annual Gulf Coast Winter Classic Horse Show starts Wednesday.
It runs through March 18th at the Harrison County Fairgrounds.