Traverse City, MI - July 16, 2008 - As the 2008 Horse Shows by the Bay equestrian festival got under way on its first day of horse showing today, Karin Flint, the woman who helped get it all started, shared about her experiences in the equestrian industry. The first week of Horse Shows by the Bay runs through Sunday, July 20, while two more weeks of competition continue through August 3.
Flint, originally from Harbor Springs, MI, is a horse enthusiast and mother of two whose interest in riding began as an adult when her daughter first sparked an interest. It did not take long for Flint to start riding and fall in love with a young, green horse. Even after her daughter found boys and lost interest, Flint's interest in the sport remained and continued to grow. She now owns six horses and even has four competing with veteran rider and trainer Lisa Jacquin. After meeting up with Jacquin at Bloomfield Open Hunt's Detroit-Motor City Horse Show and taking over the task of running the show for seven years, Flint and friends Alex and Dean Rheinheimer came up with the idea to move north and start a new show.
In January of last year, Flint, now of Wellington, FL, bought an 84-acre piece of property, which soon became Flintfields Horse Park. The park is now home to Horse Shows by the Bay, three weeks of equestrian competition and festivities and has been developed impressively.
"It has been such a labor of love," Flint said. "I have really enjoyed doing this, it is a beautiful piece of property and I love the idea of people being able to come north and enjoy Traverse City. I have really enjoyed the people; everybody is wonderful. What is not to love about this?"
Although she wants the horse show to continue improving, Flint does not want it to get any bigger so that the competition schedule can finish at a reasonable hour each evening. "We want it to be the best it can be with enough power, enough water - we really want to grow in what we can offer from the show, just not so much in size."
For Flint, the most important thing is that the shows keeps getting better and that people are happy with what they have to offer. Also on the top of her list is the beauty and maintenance of the property.
"I am not a high profile person," Flint said. "I am more of the person who likes to be in the background doing things."
While Alex and Dean and the rest of the horse show staff make sure things run smoothly, you can often find Karin Flint out somewhere working on the landscaping. "I trim bushes, pull out logs, trim the dead out of the trees, rake, pretty much all groundwork," she laughed. "I just want people to come in and be like, 'Wait a minute, are we at a park or are we at a horse show?'"
The history of the grounds is very important to Flint as well. The farm that used to be the Flintfields Horse Park property is from the late 1800s and the original barn and house are still here; it has all been restored. "There is tremendous pioneer history with this property and I am very interested in maintaining that history as well as the quality of the land." Flint said. "Those buildings are all part of the history here, part of somebody's life and I could never tear them down. That is important to me."
"I also love the history of the riders; I love watching the children show and watching them grow over the years. I have been doing this for so long and I have seen so many kids grow up and develop in their riding. It is so much fun for me," she added.
Flint also has four of her horses coming to show in the jumpers with Lisa Jacquin for two weeks this year. "I get very nervous to watch them compete though," Flint said. "I jump every jump with them with my feet going up in the air and everything. I just love to watch them though; they are my babies."
After three back surgeries, Flint does not ride anymore, but she loves to watch her horses compete and she loves working with them on the ground. "I get so much enjoyment from just being around the horses and working with them," she smiled. "I am so lucky. I never dreamed that I would ever do anything like this. I never dreamed I would be around all of these beautiful animals that are just so special."
An alumnus of Michigan State University, Flint is very excited about the polo match that will take place at the horse show for the first time this year. She plans to root on her college team with the rest of the crowds.
"It is all terrific and I just feel very lucky and very blessed to be here." Flint said of all the exciting festivities set to take place during the next three weeks. "I love it here and I love what I am doing."
"I am so glad that everyone is all here, I thank everyone for coming and I hope that they all come back and see us again," she concluded.
For more information on Horse Shows by the Bay and the fun events planned for competitors and spectators alike, please go to http://www.horsesportsbythebay.com
Photo Credit: Horse Show by the Bay's Karin Flint and her dog Tito. Photo (C) 2008 Lauren Fisher. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/karin-flint-horse-bay-07-08.html">Karin Flint: The Woman Behind the Scenes of Horse Shows by the Bay</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com