Local horse 4H clubs recently showed off their riding abilities as part of the 2014 Crook County 4H Fair.

by: KEVIN SPERL - Tanner Lauman enters the indoor arena to compete in the Working Ranch Horse Pattern.

In the relative quiet of the indoor arena at the Crook County Fairgrounds, 22 members of local 4H clubs competed in a variety of horsemanship skills as part of the 2014 Crook County 4H Fair.

Jenny Brouhard, co-superintendent of the horse fair, which took place on Monday and Tuesday, July 21 and 22, explained that the event is an opportunity for youth to display their riding abilities.

“This is an event where our members that are in a 4H horse project come to compete,” she explained, adding that members came from four local clubs —Buckles and Boots, Silver Spurs, Ochoco Hoofbeats and the Calgary Riders.

Miranda Smith-DeBoard, a graduate of Crook County High School, is in her final year of club membership and plans on attending Oregon State University in the fall.

“I have been involved with 4H for five years, two of them in horse projects,” she said. “4H is a great opportunity to work with animals and learn responsibility.”

Smith-DeBoard was excited to initially get involved with 4H as she thought it was an easy way to get a horse. She quickly found out it involved the constant care and feeding of her horse and a lot of record keeping and tracking of finances.

She admitted that she will miss the comradery of 4H and all of the friends she has made, saying that all of the clubs have become part of her extended family.

“I will be enrolling in the collegiate 4H program,” she added, “So I will still have the experience in college.”

At OSU, Smith-DeBoard plans on studying animal science and hopes to become an equine chiropractor.

Brouhard explained that a 4H horse project is a major commitment on behalf of all of the kids.

“The horse 4H project is a year-round project, very different than a market animal,” she said. “Our members keep the animals, care and feed them, and work year-round on riding and handling skills.”

In addition to this event, members attend a number of competitions throughout the year, including horse bowl and horse judging.

“We had a team go to the spring horse classic statewide competition,” she said. “We entered a senior team in horse bowl, judging and Hippology, and an intermediate team in horse bowl.”

It was a good event for Alexa Harwell, who is in her second year of 4H.

“I’ve owned my own horse for two years,” said Harwell. “It’s pretty easy and really fun. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes your horse will act up, and you have to feed it a lot, and that’s not fun.”

For Harwell the local competition turned out well, as she earned championships in showmanship and western equitation.

“It’s all about getting better than last year,” said Brouhard.

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