The Coast News Group
Lisa Blaufuss (on the ground), and Crystal Reinick prepare for the Spooktacular Halloween Dressage Show and Howl’in Dog Costume Contest later this month at the Del Mar Showpark. Courtesy photo
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Horses, dogs get into the Halloween spirit

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Spooktacular Halloween Dressage Show and Howl’in Dog Costume Contest serves up a recipe for a great event. It brings cancer awareness to the community, raises money for special causes, and gathers everyone together for a memorable time.

While the dressage show is entering its fourth year, the dog costume contest is pawing its way into its third. This much anticipated event is produced by Crackerjack Productions and is slated for Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 at the Del Mar Horsepark.

Meredith Grimm, a resident of Rancho Santa Fe, is lending a helping hand with the event. On a professional level, Grimm is a nurse and patient advocate for children and adults with cancer and rare diseases.

Founder of Crackerjack Productions, Lisa Blaufuss, is a cancer survivor. And with October marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Grimm said that Blaufuss decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the horse show to Breast Cancer Angels once again this year.

Proceeds from the Howl’in Dog Costume Contest will be filtered to the FACE Foundation. Grimm explained that this organization provides funds for emergency veterinary pet care to pet owners with financial need.

“This event is special because it is about raising awareness and the power of community, in this case, the Southern California dressage community and the Friends of Lisa (FOL),” Grimm said. “Lisa is one very inspirational cancer survivor who has made the choice to live her life and do what she loves despite her cancer diagnosis. Lisa has taught us all a great deal about living with cancer by the behavior she models. This month she will show us how to run her signature Crackerjack Halloween horse show while receiving chemotherapy.” 

Grimm describes the Spooktacular Dressage Show as not only a fun event, but one that affords both participants and spectators a triple-rated dressage event which features leading California and West Coast dressage riders.

“The show is considered the social event of the dressage show season for professional and amateur riders,” said Grimm, adding how it has grown into a four-ring competition. “One of the highlights is the Costume Musical Freestyles and Costume Pas De Deux Musical Freestyles on Saturday.”

New this year will be the Sara Eigner Memorial Award.

“It’s an award dedicated to one of the community’s longtime friend and competitor who passed away earlier this year,” she said. “This beautiful perpetual trophy will be given to the high point Adult Amateur at Second Level on Saturday.”

Some of the highlighted featured events consist of a $1,400 Costume Musical Freestyle Horse Exhibition; Caldwell Dressage’s 2nd annual Boo Bash; Spooktacular Relay Rack; The best Decorated Tent Contest; and, The Howl’in Dog Costume Contest.

Grimm added that the local support and sponsorship they are receiving has been wonderful.

According to Grimm, this year the event expects a record turnout with its dog demonstration and entries for small and large dogs in every category.

The Howl’in Dog Costume Contest is open to the public. The registration fee of $10 will benefit the FACE Foundation. Prizes will be awarded in small and large dog categories for Best Matched Pair-Human and Pet; Most Scariest; The Funniest; and, the Most Creative.

“And one lucky dog will win Best Overall Contest Winner,” Grimm said.

Event vendors will include Horse and Rider Boutique, Tammy N Touch Massage, Marsha Reuther Animal Communication, Tres Jolie Ties, LimeLite/Saddlery and more.

Grimm added that admission and parking is free and riding entries are open through Oct. 17. For more information about this event, sponsorship opportunities, entries and more, visit or call (619) 665-6493.