Pulaski County 4-H Livestock Club
Three of Pulaski County’s 4-H members recently competed in the 52nd Virginia State 4-H Championship Horse and Pony Show held at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington.
Jacob Dalrymple, Courtney Jones and Jennifer Jones, who all share a love of the American Quarter Horse, competed in the Western Division of the show. They had to meet various demands and challenges all year long in order to qualify their horse to compete in this state event.
While Jacob and Courtney compete in Western Pleasure, Jennifer focuses on Trail and Horsemanship.
Western Pleasure contestants perform at the pleasure of the judge, having their horse walk, jog, lope and reverse direction. The horses are evaluated based on quality of movement while staying quiet and calm and while traveling on a loose rein. They must change leads precisely, easily and simultaneously, using both hind and front legs.
In the Trail and Horsemanship competition, the rider is asked to follow a prescribed pattern of maneuvers at a walk, jog or lope. Finalists ride as a group around the perimeter of the arena. Judging focuses on the rider’s body position, seat in the saddle and ability to control the horse. The trail class tests the maneuverability of the horse through an obstacle course. Mandatory obstacles include opening, passing through and closing a gate. Scoring is based on the horse’s willingness, ease and grace in negotiating the course. Other mandatory obstacles are riding over at least four logs or poles and one obstacle requiring the horse to back up.
Jacob and Courtney each brought home 6th place overall in their Western Pleasure age divisions. Jennifer placed 4th out of 112 competitors in trail and 7th in horsemanship.
All three worked hard training, riding and managing their horses’ health. They also maintained project books on their horses, which included keeping accurate records of horse ownership expenses.