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Horsing Around McHenry County

McHenry County has one of the largest horse populations in the United States outside of Kentucky.

Our county hosts several horse shows each year, giving riders a chance to compete and spectators to an up-close look at these versatile, gentle giants. Like many parents, we first introduced our daughters to horses with a pony ride as each reached age two. They have been hooked ever since. Their interest has sparked a family mission to explore the local equine culture. We have since enjoyed volunteering and competing across the county.

These beautiful animals are athletes, therapists and companions.

McHenry County has a wonderful variety of horse shows that are free to spectators. Attending any of these events is a great way to experience this unique aspect of our county.

The Spring Grove Horse Fair and Junior Horse Show, Inc., is celebrating its 44th year of shows. The first show is scheduled for April 26. Pack a picnic or enjoy concessions provided by Billy’s Catering. This event gives area riders a chance to compete in English and Western styles of riding. A trail class, a complicated obstacle course that riders must maneuver their horses through, is also available. Visit for more information.

The Harvard Milk Days Horse Show on May 31 is held in conjunction with their community celebration. This show offers traditional English and Western classes for riders to compete, but also has fun classes like “egg and spoon” and “bribe your horse.” The highlight of the day is a unique drill team competition. Drill teams are groups of riders or cart drivers who perform a routine to music. This amazing display of horsemanship and teamwork is truly a sight to see. Visit for more information.

Cross Winds Farm in Marengo offers two types of shows throughout the season that allow spectators to visit an equestrian facility. The first is their schooling show, which showcases students’ progression from walking their horse to making graceful jumps. The other show is part of the Northern Illinois Hunter Jumper Association. For complete information visit

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