SIDNEY — Children ages 9 to 17 years old competed in showmanship, horsemanship, pleasure, driving and roping classes Friday at the Shelby County Junior Fair Horse Show.
It was a pleasant and sunny day for youngsters and family members gathered in and around the horse arena for shows expected to stretch into the afternoon. Many young participants were busy practicing their show patterns or caring for their horses before their turn to be judged by Leah Wilson.
Horse show participants competed throughout the week, from Monday through Friday, with Saturday ending the week as a fun day.
T.J. Reese, 9, of Jackson Center, son of Erin and Jeremy Reese, and a member of Happy Trails 4-H Club, competed with his 4-year-old horse Sparks for the first time during the 2019 fair. T.J. has been riding for the last three years and said he has won lots of ribbons during the week.
“It is pretty fun. My favorite (class) is the barrels,” T.J. said with a big smile. He admitted to being nervous on Monday for his first time competing, but appeared relaxed by Friday’s show.
Catherine Miller, 16, of Sidney, daughter of Pam Miller and Joe Curtis, a member of Trailriders 4-H Club, also competed for the first time ever in this year’s fair. Miller, as of early Friday morning, took champion in the showmanship class for first year members only of all ages, and won first place in Wednesday’s Horse Costume Contest.
Last October she took up riding for the first time, but didn’t start working with 21-year-old J.J. until February.
“We instantly had a bond from the very first day,” she said about J.J. “I always had a thing for horses, so when mom asked if I wanted to join 4-H for horses, I was like ‘yes!” But this morning (competing) I was really good and not very nervous, especially since I won the costume contest Wednesday.”
Fifteen-year-old Lauryn Paulus, of Sidney, daughter of Mitch and Mindy Paulus, and a member of Trailriders, has been riding since she was age 3, and been showing since she was 9 years old. Lauryn won several awards showing her two horses, 17-year-old River, and 16-year-old Chiciah during the week. As of early Friday morning she had won two reserve champion, four champion and two grand champion ribbons.
“It’s a lot of fun, and I get really nervous, but this is the first year (to show) at state (fair), so I think it’s helped me relax for our fair,” Lauryn said.
She told of how as a very little girl she loved the movie “Spirit,” which is follows the adventures of a young, wild stallion’s journey through the Old West. Lauryn said she watched the movie so many times that even her mom knows all the words to the movie by heart.
“I just fell in love. I just always loved horses and then I started lessons at 3, so then that was it,” she said with a smile while standing in the horse barn in front of her horses’ stalls. “I quit doing sports because this takes up all of my time. It is my favoite thing. I love it.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.