Freebie

You don't have to be a quarter horse aficionado to appreciate all the pretty horses at the Florida Quarter Horse Association's Futurity Show. The FQHA doesn't mind, and we're pretty sure the horses don't either.

So for all you horse lovers, some of the world's best quarter horses are coming from as far away as Maine and California to compete in this show, which takes place 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30-Sept. 3, at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center, located in the southwest corner of the Florida State Fairgrounds.

The FQHA is an international nonprofit association dedicated to promotion, preservation and exhibition of Foundation Quarter Horses. Only horses that are 90 percent and above Foundation Quarter Horse blood (no more than 10 percent thoroughbred added into a horse's pedigree after 1940) are eligible for FQHA registration.

The Foundation Quarter Horse measures from a minimum of 14 hands (1,050 pounds) to a maximum of 15 hands (1,250 pounds) in height, with weight and height in direct proportion to each other. A Foundation Quarter Horse's height-weight ratio comes from correct conformation, muscle mass and adequate bone. Competition horses are shown normally shod or barefoot and are in working condition.

Approximately 400 horses are competing in the show. The classes of judging include the following: reining, working cow horse, western riding, trail, working ranch horse, team penning, barrel racing, pole bending, calf roping, cutting and Western horsemanship.

Admission is free to the public. Parking is free for visitors entering at the Orient Road gate, located on the east side of the grounds, off I-4. The fairgrounds are at 4800 N. U.S. 301, Tampa (800-345-FAIR).

—Cooper Cruz