New Castle News

August 19, 2013

Lawrence County Fair: 4-H riders saddle up for fair event

Sam Luptak Jr.
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Precision teams of horses marched side by side.

Riders, ranging in age from 8 to 18 executed difficult maneuvers, and finely dressed groomspeople showed off the abilities of their horses at Friday’s final 4-H horse show of the season at the Lawrence County Fair horse rink.

The event started bright and early. Long before food booths were serving food, commercial buildings unlocked or rides opened on the empty midways, these youths already had awakened, cleaned their horses’ stalls, bathed their horses and spiffed themselves up to be ready for the first event.

The program got under way with a demonstration from the 4-H precision riding team. Eight horses and riders performed a variety of maneuvers and cross patterns in nearly perfect step with each other, demonstrating their ability to ride side by side and together in what seemed like a horse ballet.

The precision team demonstration was followed by the events. Riders of different ages showed of their skills in certain timed events.

In keyhole, for example, riders race their horses to a small, squared-off area where they made a quick turnaround — in the pattern of turning a key — without bumping or knocking down cones or boards. Then they raced back to the finish line.

Abby Ambrosini, 9, of New Castle and her horse, Sully, were one of the many who participated in the keyhole event. While she did not place, she was still happy with her ride.

Abby has been riding horses for three or four years, but began riding competitively two years ago when she joined 4-H. She said she gets to ride about every other day.

For 11-year-old Mohawk student Cody Lehman and his horse Lexie, their favorite event is the barrels, although he participates in several events. He loves the fun and excitement of riding horses, no matter what the event.

Lawrence County Fair Princess Cassidy Baker, 18, made  her final ride as a 4-H participant. After eight years in the organization, she graduated from high school and has left for college. Showmanship was among her events in the show.

“This event is all about how you present your horse,” Baker explained. “They judge how your horse is groomed and how you walk it through a series of presentation maneuvers, a jog, walk, a pivot, and a backup.”

While not everyone took home a ribbon, everyone who participated felt like a winner just to have the chance to ride at the fair.