PRESTON — EllieMae Millenkamp held several ribbons in her hand Saturday, after showing her new horse, who she calls Sam.

    With the horse show season beginning, Millenkamp made the trip from Jerome to the 2011 Open Hairy Horse Show hosted at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

    The 13-year-old said she attended the event a few years ago and after getting her horse, Scribble Me Dixon, she wanted the practice.

    “I got a new horse and it’s our warm-up show,” Millenkamp said.

    Among other awards, Millenkamp won a purple ribbon for second place in best of halter in grand reserve.

    Heavy rain moved the Hairy Horse Show from the wet grand arena to the practice arena in the back of the fairgrounds, where it would be safer for horses and their presenters, said Ann Rawlings, an event volunteer.

    She said the practice arena was drier, but was too small to have the pole and barrel races.

    Rawlings said the event gets its name because horses become more hairy over the winter. She said the just-for-fun event gives children and adults a fairly inexpensive way to practice.

    “Then people don’t feel bad (if their horse is hairy),” she said. “People will know it’s OK to come if your horse is not slick and shiny.”

    Julie Nelson, Eastern Idaho Quarter Horse Association treasurer, said there were between 50 and 75 participants, which was less than last year. She said the fewer numbers could be because of high gas prices and uncertainty about the weather.

    Nelson said participants also came from as far away as Idaho Falls and Logan.

    Jerrica James, 13, of Mendon, Utah, said this is her second year at the show and she came with her 20-year-old sister, Jenness James.

    “It’s fun for me to get (in) the arena and talk to friends who were here last year,” Jerrica said. “I just like to come and show my horses.”

    Tad and Kortny Arbon, of Pocatello, brought their 4-year-old son, Kutter, to the  show.

    Tad, who owns and operates Tad Arbon Performance Horses, said Kutter wanted to show his class B miniature horse, Rebel, because “everyone else was.”

    Tad said Kutter responsibly feeds and waters his minihorse, in addition to working with Rebel every day.

    “It gets him out and gives him confidence in what he’s done,” Tad said.