Local riders prepare for World's Championship Horse Show - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Many consider it to be the Kentucky Derby for saddlebred horses.

Local riders prepare for World's Championship Horse Show

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The World’s Championship Horse Show kicks off Saturday.

Show officials say it brings in 1,900 horses, more than 250 trainers and about 1,500 competitors to the Kentucky State Fairgrounds.

Many consider it to be the Kentucky Derby for saddlebred horses.

Some local riders, like Alex Halliburton, say they’ve been practicing for it their whole life. “It’s not like any other show,” Halliburton said. “It’s so much bigger.

Halliburton competed for the first time at the show in 2014. She’s been practicing for this year’s competition at Kismet Farm in Simpsonville under the watchful eye of Alex Wille-Irmiter.

“We try to just make everything become habitual so that when their nerves do take over a little bit everything just becomes second nature,” she said.

Wille-Irmiter first participated in the World’s Championship Horse Show in 2006.

“You never forget how that first time feels,” said Wille-Irmiter. “When you trot down the ramp into the arena and the air conditioning hits you in the face and the bright lights and everybody cheering and the green shavings. It’s just the experience of a lifetime.”

Another rider, 14-year-old Taylor Burton, is competing for the first time. She’s been riding horses since she was five.

“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” said Burton. “It seemed like every year I was waiting and waiting and I can’t believe it’s finally here.”

Wille-Irmiter says she hopes the girls will remember one thing. “Just ride as hard as you can,” she said.

The World’s Championship Horse Show ends on August 29. For more information, click here.

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