Ardmore equestrian event has worldwide appeal - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Ardmore equestrian event has worldwide appeal

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The Winter Slide in Ardmore attracts equestrians from around the world. (KTEN) The Winter Slide in Ardmore attracts equestrians from around the world. (KTEN)
Australians pose for a photo at the Winter Slide in Ardmore. (KTEN) Australians pose for a photo at the Winter Slide in Ardmore. (KTEN)

ARDMORE, Okla. -- It's a big weekend for horse reigning fans as the Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore hosts an international riding competition.

The Winter Slide horse reigning event is welcoming riders from 11 different countries from Australia to the Netherlands.

"We have all kinds of awards for them, with trophies and belt buckles, and then also cash awards," said Winter Slide manager Pete Kyle.

The events can pay out more than $20,000 to riders both professional and amateur. But the main goal for most is qualifying for a spot in the World Equestrian Games in September, a competition held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle.

The games combine eight world championships into a single event.

With people from all over the world coming to Ardmore, Hardy Murphy Coliseum manager Jeff Storms said it's a great economic opportunity for the area.

"It just brings people into the hotels and the restaurants... you know, the gas stations getting fuel in their trucks," he said.

Some international competitors don't have much experience riding in southern Oklahoma, but after having their horses flown overseas in the cargo section of airliners, they say the facility is ideal.

"The ground was perfect for our horses. and everybody was really helpful," said Eric Laporte of France. "It's a good community, it's great."

This is the sixth annual Winter Slide, and organizers say it's always a fun family atmosphere.

"People are very friendly," Kyle said. "We'd love to have you look at the horses and pet them even. Just enjoy yourself! It's going to be a beautiful weekend, so come out here and join us at the Hardy Murphy."

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