Martha’s Vineyard equestrians display their skills at open house

Members of the M.V. Horse Council highlighted the various skills of Island riders and their horses.

Chance, skeletally painted to show a horse’s movement, leaps over a jump. — Photo by Lisa Vanderhoop

The Martha’s Vineyard Horse Council held an open house Saturday at Woodbe Farm in West Tisbury. Now in its third year, the event is already a spring tradition among many Islanders, who gather to watch various equestrian demonstrations and connect with fellow horse enthusiasts.

Despite a threat of showers, attendees and riders maintained a sunny disposition. Lillian Robinson and her three riding students, Aubrey Holmes, Baylee Furtaw, and Ashley Casey, modeled the proper attire for a riding lesson or a show, wearing apparel from Ms. Robinson’s new equestrian-supply business, the Vineyard Equestrian.

Ms. Robinson also presented spectators with a unique demonstration of equine movement with a pony named Chance, who had been painted with a white skeleton outline. She urged Chance over a few jumps, drawing attention to the movement of the bones and joints of his legs and neck.

Tracey Olsen, MVHC vice president, performed a Grand Prix freestyle ride on her accomplished Danish Warmblood, Lamborghini (a.k.a. “Zoomy”). Her ride started out to the adrenaline-pumping strains of “Eye of the Tiger.” Horse and rider impressed the crowd with advanced dressage movements that included piaffe, passage and canter pirouettes.

“He knows his job and he loves to perform,” Tracey said after her ride. “We call him the Professor.”

Crowd favorite Jackson, a 2,200-pound Clydesdale owned by Bob and Irene Hungerford, showed off his driving skills, and the event concluded with a Iceland pony demonstration.

“It’s a great event,” Ms. Olsen said. “It doesn’t matter if you rode 20 years ago. It brings all the horse lovers together.”

For more information on the Martha’s Vineyard Horse Council, go to