When you attend the Lake County Fair this week you won’t see horses until the Round Robin Showmanship events and the Ranch Rodeo on Saturday.
The reason? All of those beautiful 4-H equines and their kid counterparts competed this past Saturday at the Ronan Fairgrounds Arena.
Through the 1970s, the horses were shown along with the other animals during the fair and the horses were kept in stalls in the East animal barn. In the 1980s the horse competition was expanded to include many more events and because of this as well as a growing demand for space, the horse events were moved to the Polson Fairgrounds for a few years.
The horse show was subsequently returned to the Ronan Fairgrounds, but now takes place the Saturday before the other animals are brought to the fair for their events. Many of the kids showing horses also show other animals so it makes for a very busy fair week.
Twelve girls and two boys gathered to compete in an array of horse events July 20. The competitors could not have asked for a more perfect day — bright sunshine, but not too hot — at least not in the morning hours when most of the events occurred.
The first events were the showmanship classes beginning with Junior Showmanship, followed by Senior Showmanship, and then finally Novice Showmanship.
The Grand Champions in Showmanship were Hayley Bergh in the Junior Showmanship, Kyia Hendrickson in Senior Showmanship and Carnell Smith in the Novice Showmanship. Hayley and Kyia are both eligible to show their horses in the Round Robin events July 27, however both are also showing other animals and should they win Grand Champion Showman with another animal they will get their choice of which to show in the Round Robin.
Should they choose not to show their horse in the Round Robin competition, the Reserve Champion will be able to show his or her horse.
The colt to maturity class had only one entrant, Tanner Bergh, who was awarded championship ribbons in showmanship and halter conformation for his gorgeous bay yearling quarter horse, Nickers.
The mini-horses competed next in jumping, obstacle, and costume classes. The kids did a great job showing even though their minis were a bit stubborn at times. The three competitors in the Costume Class all won purple ribbons with Lilia Mitchell being named the Grand Champion.
Jaylynn Buxbaum wore proper attire and had her pretty little appaloosa perfectly groomed as she showed as the only competitor riding English. She was awarded a blue ribbon in English horsemanship.
The other riders showed in different levels of Western Horsemanship based on their experience levels. Five continued to compete in Western Pleasure and Western Equitation events, four competed in the Trail class and Tanner Bergh and Kyia Hendrickson showed their skills in the Ranch Horse class.
Kyia Hendrickson and her sorrel had an outstanding day capturing Grand Champion Rosettes in Senior Showmanship as well as Western Pleasure, Western Equitation, Western Horsemanship, Trail, and Ranch Horse for the 14 and up age group.
The practice that all of the horse exhibitors put in under the guidance of leaders who themselves are 4-H veterans was very evident. They all looked relaxed and well prepared as they put their horses through their paces and, for the most part, the horses behaved and performed well.