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Palos Hills Stables Hosts Springtabulous Horse Show

Chilly temperatures and gloomy skies did not prevent the enthusiastic students of Palos Hills Stables’ New Traditions Riding Academy from participating in the "Springtabulous Show" on Saturday, March 15. This first "school show" of the 2008 season brought out 40 exhibitors, ranging from walk/trot and novice through advanced riders and included several boarders and their show horses for a pre-season tuneup. The exhibitors displayed the results of their hard work in the riding academy lesson program for capable judge Laura Grunler-Young. The 21 well-filled classes were viewed by an appreciative family audience who made great use of their video cameras.

Palos Hills Stables, managed by Martha Thompson-Hoyt, has been owned and operated by the Thompson family for almost 50 years in the same southwest suburban Chicago location. It is a full-service training and boarding facility, catering to both pleasure and show riders and is conveniently located close to major thoroughfares but is also directly connected to the Cook County Forest Preserves, with scenic miles of riding trails. Many members of Martha’s show team, currently getting ready for the start of the 2008 season, caught the horse show ‘bug’ while riding in one of the academy shows that have been a tradition at the barn for many of those 50 years.

Another tradition is the horse show ‘prep class’ held on the evening before the big day. Riders gathered early Friday evening to help set up the tack for the next morning and then brought out their designated show horses for some last minute practice and performance tips from Martha. This can be a challenge as all levels of riders are welcome to join this prep class, resulting in an interesting combination of novice and experience that keeps everyone on their toes.

The Riding Academy conducts four school shows throughout the year. School and boarder riders compete for high point ribbons that are awarded at the end of each show. Points are then accumulated towards the overall Year- End High Point presented at the Winter Show in December. Janet Amedio and Victoria Halwix were the Boarder and School Rider High Point winners on Saturday.

One of the day’s special classes was made up entirely of members of the stables’ ASHA chartered youth group, "Saddlebred Riders United." For the past five years, this group of younger horse lovers, along with their parent sponsors, has played an important part in activities around the stable, as well as with community service functions. Before the show, the members voted that this would be an "elimination" class. Ms. Young and the show announcer, Nancy Plucinski, put the riders through their paces asking for changes of leads, diagonals, reversals and halts until the winner, Rachel Thomas, was finally the last contender remaining on the rail.

In addition to their show participation, the Youth Group conducted a ‘Supply Drive’ for our soldiers serving overseas. Several weeks before the show, members prepared and distributed flyers announcing the special collection, and as a result, a large number of assorted videos, books, magazines, candy, cookies and personal items were collected on the day of the show. Youth Group members are now busily sorting and packing all of the donations for delivery to their overseas destinations. These deliveries are made even more special to Palos Hills Stables as Martha’s husband, Master Sergeant Robert Hoyt, is currently deployed with the US Army in the Middle East. We look forward to his safe return later this year.

The second show of the school season has been scheduled for Saturday, May 31. Preparations are already underway for this afternoon/evening show where, for the first time, there will be a Pleasure Driving class. If you are in the area, stop by and join in the festivities! For more information, please visit and

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