Organizers have raised more than $100,000 over the life of the event, which now operates as a non-profit organization, she said.
What sets the Fiesta of the Spanish Horse apart from other shows is that the event brings together multiple types of Spanish breed horses, including the Andalusian, Lusitano and Peruvian Paso, she said. Historically, these types of horses were popular among the Spanish royalty, who would populate areas of the world with the horses throughout their travels. Last week more than 300 show entrants were at the equestrian center, with some coming from as far away as Peru, Brazil and Portugal.
Before the main event on Saturday, Bruce Howard, a trainer from Santa Ynez Valley, worked polishing up a park gate gig, a horse-pulled carriage from American colonial times. He and his Andalusian horse — Bandolero de Plata, or Golden Bandit — are a multi-national championship winning team who have participated in the Fiesta of the Spanish Horse for more than five years, he said.
"It's fun because the audience is very appreciative of what's being shown them," he said. "Even if they are not horse experts, they really are enthusiastic about what they see."
And enthusiasm permeated the equestrian center inside and outside of the main ring, with more than one attendee noting that the spirit of this year's event, which coincided with Cinco de Mayo, would heighten the more the tequila flowed.
"We try to get down here for this every year," Ventura resident Maria Cruz said. "It's such a great mix of the beautiful horses and a festive crowd."