A week of colorful riders showing off impressive horsemanship kicks off today in Lindale.
The Super Ride XI, International Festival of the Equestrian Arts 2013 will be held through Saturday at the Texas Rose Horse Park, 14078 Texas Highway 110 North.
The event showcases horse riders from across the United States performing showmanship drills with a team of riders. The riders and horses dress in costumes, and the performances are choreographed to music.
"It's really colorful, it's really entertaining and it's really family-oriented. It's a great place to bring your family for a family event," said Gary Bonner, managing director of the United States Equestrian Drill Association and director of the Ghost Riders equestrian drill team, which is the local team organizing the event.
The riders compete within their age groups and by the level of difficulty of the performance, Bonner said.
They are judged on performance difficulty, timing, music choice and costumes, among other criteria.
"Anything on horseback is dangerous, and it all goes back to timing, pacing, alignment and working together as at team," Bonner said.
More than 400 people have signed up to compete, forming between 38 and 40 teams, he said.
Novice and regional riders will compete early in the week, and the national and international competition, which riders had to pre-qualify for, will be held on Friday and Saturday, Bonner said.
No international riders are competing this year, but several teams from Canada will be in attendance to watch the games, and may participate next year. Riders from China have competed in the past, but none are in attendance this year he said.
Twenty-four riders were nominated by their teammates and selected by the organizers to perform in the All Stars group, which will learn and practice a choreographed ride over the week and perform it on Saturday evening.
Fans will be set up into stands to help keep temperatures down, and alcohol is not allowed on the premises, Bonner said.
Admission is $5 a day and free for children 6 and younger. Parking is an additional $5 per day.