May 8—After a yearlong hiatus, the Aiken Charity Horse Shows are back, with hundreds of hunters and jumpers scheduled to compete this month.
On Friday, the Aiken Horse Park Foundation's Bruce's Field was buzzing with activity: Handfuls of horses could be seen at at time — some being lunged, some leaping over jumps, some chomping at grass waving in the wind — as golf carts, often with dogs in tow, rumbled across the sprawling complex.
The first installment of competition began earlier this week and will wrap Sunday. The second installment kicks off May 12 and ends May 16. Things begin daily at 8 a.m.
The Aiken Charity Horse Shows are considered the Horse Park Foundation's biggest fundraisers and typically draw people from across the U.S. Shows in previous years have translated into more than $100,000 provided to a range of charities. The 2020 cancellations — because of coronavirus, like many other events — have been described as a huge loss.
Some of the proceeds from this year's shows will go toward the Equestrian Aid Foundation, which provides grants to people dealing with loss of income due to catastrophic injury or illness, and Mental Health America of Aiken County.
Bruce's Field, named after Bruce Duchossois, is located at 931 Powderhouse Road S.E., near the Aiken Training Track. The charity shows are dedicated to the memory of Duchossois, who died in 2014.
Staff writer Dede Biles contributed to this article.