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Hitchcock Woods is ready for its 98th annual 'Horse Show in the Woods.'

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As everyone in "this neck of the woods" knows, our mid-February ice storm left a lot of damage to trees in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA.) Not the least affected was Aiken's Hitchcock Woods. The woods were closed for two weeks following the storm while the staff made needed repairs to provide for the safety of its frequent guests. Last weekend your Examiner wandered over to the Woods to see how things were coming. The accompanying slide show shows the state of things as of the end of March between the Woods' Coker Springs and Berrie Road entrances. All in all, the trails we saw were all usable and being used (although some side trails still need a bit of work.)

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Woods staff, augmented by a number of volunteers, accomplished the bulk of the work. Some problem areas, mainly hanging loose limbs which were considered hazardous that were above the reach of staff's equipment, required contractor assistance, which was obtained. According to Woods Superintendent Bennett Tucker, cleanup of the woods is proceeding well, with 95 percent of the trails now open--which is a good thing. .

This weekend, the annual Hitchcock Woods Horse Show is scheduled. A lot of work goes into this annual event--which was started by Mrs. Thomas Hitchcock in 1916--and the Hitchcock Woods Foundation, Board, and Staff would want nothing to stand in its way. The work goes on, tradition prevails.

Events associated with the annual Aiken Horse Show in the woods begin with a sponsor's dinner this Thursday evening. Main competition events begin the next day at 9:00 AM and continue through the weekend. For attendance information, go to the horse show site at or call the foundation's offices at (803) 642.0528. While the packages are reasonably priced for the convenience of many donors (and, at this point in time, packages may no longer be available,) the cost to attend the various main horse events is a bit less--i.e., they are free. Should one want to drive to get a bit closer to the ring than the end of South Boundary, the cost will be $10 a car.

This should be a good weekend for horse events in Aiken and the CSRA. Even the weatherman is cooperating. If you're so inclined, you should have a good horse show experience. And thanks, as always, for visiting