Hudson -- Stockings of burlap, felt, plastic and even metal were hung from the walls of The Grey Colt, 150 N. Main St., where visitors can purchase a $1 ticket for a chance to win a stocking.
The Grey Colt hosted a kickoff party Dec. 4 for its 13th annual Stocking Contest. Visitors will have until Dec. 13 to purchase tickets and choose which stocking of 62 entries they would like to have a chance of winning.
Money raised from the raffle of the stocking will go to Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center in Chagrin Falls, where horses are used to help people of all ages with a variety of physical, emotional and mental disabilities have a better quality of life, said Fieldstone Farm Chief Operating Officer Leslie Mapes.
"The funds help in a number of ways," Mapes said. "The highest area of need is to help people who need to come but can't afford the lessons."
The money will go to grants to help those who need financial assistance to participate in the program.
"For a lot of people, it's a challenge to form relationships," Mapes said. "They have trust issues."
Those people, by working with an animal, become stronger, more confident and build self-esteem, she said.
"They can get on a huge horse and tell it where to go just by pulling the reins," Mapes said. "A horse can change a life."
Fieldstone Farm, founded in 1978, is one of the largest therapeutic riding centers in the United States with a staff of 600 volunteers and 36 horses, helping 200 students per week.
Mapes entered a riding boot stocking and many of the stockings had a horse or riding theme. One was made of riding ribbons and another was a huge inflated boot stocking.
American Greetings artists Dinara Mirtalipova was the judge of the stocking contest.
"It's really hard to give a preference to one over another because they are so unique and different," Mirtalipova said. "I'm looking for something that is unpredictable, a little different yet traditional and beautiful with time involved."
She chose four winners who were presented with prizes and had ribbons attached to their stockings.
"I never saw a stocking like this before," Mirtalipova said as she named Jim Baker winner of the "most creative use of material" with his copper pipe and aluminum stocking.
Baker lived in Hudson for 17 years, but now lives in Colorado and flew in with his stocking for the contest.
Mirtalipova awarded "Best craftsmanship" to Hudson resident Jan Burgwinkle who used her 30 years of quilting experience to create her quilted stocking. Burgwinkle said she heard about the contest last year and came to see what it was about and decided to enter for the first time this year.
The children's stocking award went to Hudson resident Lily Swain, 11, who first drew her stocking and then created in with faux leather.
Hudson resident Margo Schildhouse won the "best of show" stocking for her nature-inspired stocking. Her creation is made from burlap, wool yarn and a real robin's nest complete with robin's egg.
Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing