Winter Horse Show Weathers Cold Snap

Folks involved with the "Winter Classic" horse show at the Harrison County Fairgrounds were hoping to spend some warm afternoons on the beach this week.

Instead, they're scrambling to find cold weather coats and extra horse blankets.

Cold temperatures and an icy wind reminded visitors that even the deep South isn't beyond the grip of Old Man Winter.

Horses and trainers stay bundled up as an icy north wind blows over the fairgrounds. Few were expecting this arctic blast.

"It's an outdoor sport. So we're used to dealing with some weather. This has been some weather, let me tell you. But we deal with it as best we can. The horses are a little fresh and I think sometimes the horses like that little cold snap. Makes them jump a little better," show organizer Janet McCarroll said.

Trainer Chris Moyer says the animals seem to adapt to the frigid weather better than their handlers. It gives them a natural boost.

"They came out a little fresh today. Everyone's a little on the frisky side. Well, we expected it to be a whole lot warmer so we body clipped everybody and it's kind of like being out here naked in the cold wind for them," Moyer said.

Norman, a 4-year-old horse, had his winter coat clipped just before making the trip here from Pennsylvania. His handlers were expecting warmer weather.

Since the winter classic draws entries from around the world, the response to this cold weather depends on who you talk with. For the Canadians, this South Mississippi cold snap is nothing new. But for most Southerners, it's bitter.

Shane Ledyard kept wishing his horse trainer's hat had flannel ear flaps. He tried his best to quit thinking about the cold.

"Just dealing with it like everybody else. A little bit of coffee and just keep riding. Keep moving," Ledyard said.

He had hoped to visit the beach this week.  But the winter blast makes that trip unlikely.

"We expected 60 to 70 and balmy. Go to the beach, that type thing you know."

No such luck today. But there's talk of a warm up later this week.

"That's what your weather guy says. I've been watching him religiously every morning," said McCarroll.

Folks at the horse show would welcome any such warming trend.