Threat from Hurricane Florence shortens Aiken Fall Festival II horse show at Bruce’s Field

September 13, 2018

The hunter/jumper show will go on at the Aiken Horse Park Foundation’s Bruce’s Field.

But there have been some changes to Aiken Fall Festival II because of Hurricane Florence.

Instead of running Thursday through Sunday, the event will be held Thursday and Friday. Competition will begin at 8 a.m. each day.

The $25,000 American Standard Grand Prix, presented by the D&W Group and Horse Park Foundation President Jack Wetzel, is set for Friday and will start around noon.

“The schedule has been condensed, so that the show can be completed in two days,” said Horse Park Foundation Vice President and Treasurer Tara Bostwick on Wednesday.

The seventh annual Birdies & Bridles fundraiser for The First Tee of Aiken and the South Carolina Hunter Jumper Association Governor’s Cup Medal Finals were postponed. They will be held during the Holiday Premiere show at Bruce’s Field Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

Tents with temporary stalls in them were being taken down Wednesday at Bruce’s Field, and the horses being stabled there were moved to permanent stalls in the barns at Bruce’s Field.

Spaces in the barns opened up because the threat of inclement weather resulted in the early departure of a number of horses and their riders.

After Aiken Fall Festival II ends, “we are obviously going to accommodate any horses that need to stay here longer,” Bostwick said.

Bruce’s Field also began accepting horses that were evacuated from other areas because of Florence.

Equus Events, an Aiken-based business owned by JP Godard and his wife, Megan, is the organizer and manager of Aiken Fall Festival II.

In addition, Equus Events also was in charge of Aiken Fall Festival I, which was held Sept. 6-9.

“We didn’t want our exhibitors to be competing in dangerous conditions,” said Bostwick of the decision to make changes in Aiken Fall Festival II’s schedule.

The Godards posted the following message on the Horse Park Foundation’s Facebook page Wednesday: “We know that our competitors are saddened and frustrated about these circumstances, and we share those sentiments. With that in mind, we now turn our focus to making the best of a difficult situation and providing any assistance we can offer to those who may need it.

Thanks to all for your patience and understanding.”

JP Godard said last week that “close to 500 horses” were scheduled to participate in the two Aiken Fall Festival shows.

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