All the pretty horses at Fiesta

Ben Godar

Nearly 300 horses of Spanish descent will showcase their long manes

and striking features at this weekend's Fiesta of the Spanish Horse.

Among those participating in the annual event are Burbank

residents Nancy Latta and daughter Amanda Latta-Shields, who are

showing three Andalusians. Nancy Latta said the long mane and tails

of the Spanish horses give them a mythical charm that other horse

breeds cannot equal.

"I think every girl at one time or another has dreamed of riding a

white, magical stallion," she said. "This is a way to follow that

dream."

The festival's main event will be Saturday night's extravaganza.

In addition to riding exhibitions, horse dancing and jousting, the

show will include Latin and mariachi bands and dancers.

"It's like a Broadway show with horses as the performers," event

producer Joanne Asman said during Thursday's opening day.

Asman, a Burbank resident, conceived the event and began producing

it five years ago. The four-day fiesta includes several competitions,

but Asman said the main purpose is to showcase and celebrate any

breeds of Spanish descent. It also provides a chance for visitors to

learn the history of how the horses were brought from Europe to South

America, eventually finding their way north into Mexico and

California.

Proceeds from this year's event will be donated to the USC/Norris

Comprehensive Cancer Center. Last year's fiesta raised $25,000 for

charity.

The fiesta began Thursday with Andalusian, Peruvian Paso and Paso

Fino breeds participating in a variety of events, including dressage

and Western competitions.

The focus on the Spanish breeds is what Nancy Latta said makes the

event special.

"Since all the horses have Spanish blood, we all have something in

common," she said. "There's more camaraderie."

While admission will be charged for the Saturday night

extravaganza, organizers said visitors will not be charged Sunday to

watch the competition.

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