Eddie Maple, the event chairman for the ninth annual Hilton Head/Savannah Equestrian Exposition, was quick to point out that three of the beneficiaries of this year's event are therapeutic riding centers, where equine-assisted therapies are used to treat disabled individuals.
"That in itself is an example of what this is all about," said Maple, a Hall of Fame jockey and general manager of the Rose Hill Plantation Equestrian Center in Bluffton where Sunday's event will be held. "Equitation for charity."
The event, started by Sandy Termotto, features several different equestrian disciplines and serves as a fundraiser for local charities and to increase the awareness of the equestrian lifestyle.
This year's theme is the "Spirit of the Horse."
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"It's man and horse competing as one to be the best," Maple said.
The event is open to the public and is designed for spectators to have a good time -- eating, drinking and mingling as the show goes on. Area vendors will be on hand selling specialty items, as well.
"It's a good show. It's not a long day," Maple said. "If anything, we're just trying to make people comfortable and get a big crowd."
The event drew roughly 3,700 last year, and Maple is hoping for a bigger turnout this year.
And while there are competitions being held -- there are cash prizes being awarded in the jumping disciplines -- Maple is quick to point out that's not really what it's about.
"These people, while they're competing, they're here for the charity," Maple said. "We're just as happy for a nice day and a big turnout. It's for a good cause."
Here's a rundown of the equestrian disciplines on display:
Parade of breeds: Maple says 15 or so breeds of horses ridden in the Lowcountry will be presented to the crowd.
Lowcountry Hunt: The only mounted foxhunting club in Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties, Lowcountry Hunt will put on a foxhunting demonstration. American foxhunting differs from English foxhunting in that the sport and the chase are the goals, not the kill. The hunt ends when the fox or coyote "goes to ground" or slips away. "It's not a kill situation," Maple said. "The challenge is for the participants to manage their horses and hounds in the situation." Maple expects 20 to 25 participants.
Barrel racing demo: Riders compete against each other in a timed event, cutting the horse as close to the barrels as possible. The event requires a fast horse and strong rider. Three riders will be competing.
Six bar jumping: When horses clear a series of six jumps, they move to the next higher round. Jumps are raised until only one horse can complete the course.
Gambler's choice: Each rider gets two minutes to jump fences with specific point values in any order and may jump fences multiple times. The rider with the most points wins.
Polo: A polo match will follow the other riding disciplines.
9th Annual Hilton Head/Savannah Equestrian Exposition
Sunday, Rose Hill Plantation Equestrian Center, Bluffton
Cost: $15 general admission
Gates open: 11 a.m.
Exposition begins: 12:30 p.m.
Order of events
Beneficiaries: American Diabetes Association, Bluffton Historical Preservation Society, Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center, Heritage Library History and Genealogy Research Center, Heroes on Horseback, Hilton Head Humane Association, John Paul II Catholic School, Lowcountry Hunt, Saint Gregory the Great Ministries, SCAD Equestrian Program, Savannah Philharmonic, Wish Upon a Horse Therapeutic Riding Center
Details/tickets: 843-705-9551, 843-671-4865, www.equiexpo.org