Shane Pope spends a lot of his time horsing around.

Shane Pope spends a lot of his time horsing around.
With the spring and summer season on the horizon, Pope will spend even more time horsing around.
Don’t get the wrong impression, it’s a lot of work when you are an equestrian, competing in events throughout the East Coast and taking care of your prized horses.
“People think it’s all fun but there is a lot of work involved in taking care of horses. Especially competing in events,” said Pope.
About five years ago, Pope spent some time around horses and started to enjoy taking care of them and riding. “Danielle Piatt had a horse and I began riding after school,” said Pope. “Erin Kane has also been a big part of my involvement with horses.”  
A year later, Pope had his first show horse named Cavalli. Cavalli, a nine year old originally from Holland, and Hetty, a 13 year old originally from France, are Pope’s two horses that he rides in competiton.
With the help of trainer, Doris Leventhal, Pope trains the horses in Bethany (near Honesdale) a few hours a day and is also involved in training a few other horses.
“I ride about six horses a week,” stated Pope. “There are days in the spring and summer I may ride each horse for about 45 minutes each day so that makes for long days.”
Spending so much time with the horses gives Pope and chance to bond with them. He finds that aspect of the training one of the most enjoyable. “Each horse develops a personality,” offered Pope. “Hetty knows just what to do when she hears the timer go off while Cavalli does his own thing before settling into a workout.”
Training the horses to respond to what you want them to do is a challenge and Pope spends much of the pre-season getting them ready for Show Competition. The Show Season is in full swing by late spring and early summer.
“We compete in a Hunters Competition and Jumpers Competion,” noted Pope.
In the Hunters Competition, horses are in a smoother, slowed down gate while the Jumpers Event is a faster paced event as the competitors jump obstacles between 3 feet-six inches and 3 feet-nine inches high.
While fans at the event may see the pageantry of the competition and others may think it’s all fun and games, Pope notes the behind the scenes work is time-consuming and difficult.
“At shows, I’m up at 4 am,” said Pope. “The horses have to be groomed by a certain time and dressed by a certain time. The riders have to be at their stall by 5:15 am. It’s a l-o-n-g day,” noted the local equestrian.
With events at Lake Placid NY, Saratoga NY and Vermont among Pope’s stops during the summer months, expenses add up quickly.
Training, feeding and housing the horse, transportation to the event, various equipment needed for the horse quickly sends expenses into the thousands. Additional expenses for the rider adds more to the pricetag of competitions.
“There are all different levels of competition,” stated Pope. “I’ve competed in many different levels. There are $500 events to $2500 events. Some of the bigger shows have 80 competitors. Expenses could reach into the thousands for a week at a show.”
Pope has enjoyed success at these events but doesn’t have any idea the number of ribbons and dollars he has won.
“I never really keep track of that,” he laughed. “Any money I’ve won is invested into the horses.”
Pope, a student at Penn State’s Worthington Scranton campus, will spend most of his summer horsing around. But it will be time-consuming, physically exhausting and mentally-challenging.
He wouldn’t spend his summer any other way!