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June 1, 2014

20 counties compete in 4-H district horse show

DUNCAN — Stephens County Fairgrounds played host to the Southwest District 4-H horse show from May 29-31.

4-H members, ages nine to 19, competed in several competitions at district. Over the course of three days, western riding, English riding, and other races were showcased.

Thursday was a suite event day. Riders were able to show their horses in barrel racing, pole bending and stake racing. All day Friday, western classes were showcased, with halter and showmanship in the early morning. Saturday showcased the english classes, kicking the morning off with a two-year-old class for exhibitors who have an animal thats two-years-old. Southwest District 4-H program specialist Kimbreley Davis said that the two-year-old class was a chance for exhibitors to showcase the beginning of their riding and training process.

“It’s cool to see those kids actually train an animal,” she said.

World renowned Joe Hayes of Gainsville, Texas served as the judge for the district show. Hayes serves as a quarter judge for the National Reigning Horse Association.

“Joe did a phenomenal job for us,” Davis said. “You have a guy that sees a lot of pro exhibitors and he came down and was very kid friendly. We were really glad to have a gentleman of his quality come in and judge our show.”

Davis explained that 4-H is a club that teaches leadership, citizenship and life skills to children through many different projects. These life skills include responsibility, goal setting and time management as well as others for a total of 30 life skills.

“No matter what project there is, whether its horses or anything else, it is about kids learning life skills: responsibility, time management, critical thinking. These kids today learned about taking care of somebody else, being responsible for them, time management (and) goal setting,” she said.

To qualify for district, 4-H members in the southwest district, which includes 20 counties, entered in the last part of April. They were required to pay fees such as class fees, stall fees and ground fees.

Classes were set by event as well as age. Age brackets ran from 9-11, 12-14 and 15-19. Any competitor who placed in the top 10 for their competition class at district is invited to the state competition in Shawnee in late June. Competitors will compete in the classes they placed in this weekend. The top 10 were also rewarded with a ribbon and rosette while 1st place received an engraved medallion.

    “Whether they win or lose, its not about the ribbons,” Davis said. “It’s about leaving the area thinking ‘I did all of this work at home and we improved.’ Whether they placed 10th or whether they placed 1st, if they achieved their goals, every kid walked out as a winner.”

    Reagan Stephens, a 13-year-old from Custer County, said that the event was well run, the horses behaved well and that she was proud of what she had accomplished. Her and her horse Remington placed 1st in showmanship and western horsemanship, 2nd in reigning and 6th in western pleasure.

“It was very good,” she said. “The event was pretty well run. I really felt good about it just because all the horses have acted really well.”

According to Davis, the 4-H horse project has grown in numbers, both in people and horses. She explained that educators involved in the 4-H program have been trying to expand the project for a while and for good cause.

“The horse is like a companion animal. It is an animal that can bond to you. Except for halter, these classes are judged on that kids ability to work with that animal. If they didn’t work with the animal prior to coming, it’s going to show. They have to do the work and in return by learning how to work with animals, I think the kids not only learn about working with horses but something about themselves,” she said. “I think the hardwork these kids have put into this project shows today. No matter if kids show horses for the rest of their adult life, they’re going to use the skills we teach in their future.”

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