Horsing around: Horse, pony alumni show they still know how it's done – The Republic

July 14, 2019 - Comment

As the fair winds down in Bartholomew County, a number of the 4-H events are not so much about competition — and more about having fun. One example was the annual Horse & Pony Parent and Alumni Horse Show that attracted about a dozen adult participants to the horse arena at the fairgrounds Thursday. “Club

As the fair winds down in Bartholomew County, a number of the 4-H events are not so much about competition — and more about having fun.

One example was the annual Horse & Pony Parent and Alumni Horse Show that attracted about a dozen adult participants to the horse arena at the fairgrounds Thursday.

“Club leaders always get to tell the kids what to do, but on this night, it is their show,” said Circle C 4-H Horse and Pony Club advisory board member Adam Ulrich. “This night, the kids get to tell the adults what to do.”

Although this show is usually regarded only as a fun activity, it has a couple of meaningful purposes.

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The show entices adults who have supported the Horse and Pony Club to remain active and involved, said club advisory board member Vicki Perkins.

“We love to give them a good time, and make them feel like they are still part of the club,” Perkins said.

That’s exactly how Kristen Grimm, who was active in the Horse and Pony Club from 2009 to 2014, said she felt when she won the showmanship competition.

But the show also serves as a training exercise for three student members of the club’s horse judging team: Olivia Williams, Lauren Ulrich and Justine Hess.

While student judging is often overlooked by those who attend the regular horse shows, the three judges did place in a national horse judging contest in Nashville, Tennessee, two years ago, Perkins said.

Although Tonya McLoed said she enjoyed competition Thursday with Bailey, her horse for the past 16 years, her purpose in participating was to support the student horse judges.

“It teaches the participants how to do critical thinking and public speaking,” McLoed said.

Columbus North High School student Justine Hess says she gets a different perspective when she’s allowed to become a judge, rather than being one of the judged.

The horse judging team takes what they do seriously when evaluating the participants, but “we also like to make it fun for everyone,” the 17-year-old Hess said.

During Thursday’s competition, McLoed — who is the mother of a current nine-year 4-H club member — won two of the class competitions: Hunter Under Saddle and Western Pleasure.

During the last half of the show, there was a lot more horsing around by the participants than by the horses.

“This is an event where you can do whatever — and everybody does whatever with you,” Grimm said.

There was one contestant who placed a donkey with the horses entered in the halter competition.

The sign-up list for the barrel competition only had five names, but four more adults got into the arena to compete with little to no advanced warning to the judges.

One was Autumn Kinser, who made all three judges laugh by competing in a tiny buggy pulled by a small pony.

Adam Ulrich, who won both the Flags and Barrels competition, said it felt good to just concentrate on competitive riding Thursday.

“It’s nice to not feel the pressure of running the show,” said Adam Ulrich, who is also a member of the 4-H Fair Board. “And I think all of the alumni and parents who were here just had a great time.”

Class winners

The following won their individual classes Thursday at the 4-H Horse & Pony Parent and Alumni Horse Show:

Halter: Autumn Kinser

Showmanship: Kristin Grimm

Hunter Under Saddle: Tonya McLoed

Western Pleasure: Tonya McLoed

Flags: Adam Ulrich

Barrels: Adam Ulrich

Poles: Ellen Owens

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