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Back in the saddle
Horse show benefits nonprofit boys lodge
Racking Horse 2 es WEB
Photo/Emily Saunders Jackie Sexton demonstrates racking with Eternal Son on Saturday at her home. True racking involves a horse having only one hoof on the ground at a time. Sexton is an organizer of the July 5 horse show that will benefit Bald Ridge Lodge.

Horses from across the Southeast will convene Saturday at the Cumming Fairgrounds as the National Racking Horse Association holds the equine equivalent of "Best in Show" to benefit Bald Ridge Lodge.

The second annual horse show features American Saddlebreds, Tennessee Walking horses and Nationalbreds from Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee competing for trophies in several different classes.

Bald Ridge Lodge, a nonprofit organization, will offer counseling, mentoring and support to at-risk boys ages 12 to 17. The facility, which is scheduled to open Aug. 1, will be able to house 12 residents for up to 90 days.

"It's a temporary home for boys who are at risk or who have been placed there by the courts until whatever problem has arisen in their family life can be straightened out," said George Pirkle, one of the organization's board members.

The event is one of many in what is shaping up as busy July Fourth holiday weekend in Forsyth County.

Michael Sexton of Cumming, who participated in the first horse show, said he will enter six of his horses this year.

Sexton, a member of the National Racking Horse Association and a show organizer, said that horses competing in the show can gain points for the Association's World Championship Show at the end of the year in Cleveland, Tenn.

Pirkle added that this year's event is perfect for "anybody that is a horse lover." Last year between 35 and 40 horses competed in the event.

Sexton said he hopes that at least 100 will compete this year.

"The horses are beautiful," Pirkle said. "And it's a NRHA show, so you know you're seeing the best of the best with this."

While the horse show is the main attraction, there will be other events, including a pig toss, where people can rent plastic pigs to throw at a hula hoop and attempt to ring it.

Sexton said there will also be a lead line class where children can be led around on horses. Other activities include a stick horse competition for children, as well as food and refreshments.

Pirkle said the events usually last until 9:30 or 10 p.m.

"It takes a long time to go through all these different classes and competitions," he said.

Last year the show brought in about $16,000, a figure Pirkle hopes to top this year.

Added Sexton: "We hope we accumulate points for the end of the year state championship and we are hoping we raise a lot of money to benefit the lodge."

Those interested in entering their horses for the event can register the day of the competition, he said.