10/07/05 — A real horse and pony show

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A real horse and pony show

By Turner Walston
Published in News on October 7, 2005 1:53 PM

Rains moved the Open Pony and Mule and Horse shows inside at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair Thursday, but did not dampen enthusiasm.

Showmen young and old showed mules and horses in more than 15 categories in the Livestock Arena. The animals lined up with their showmen in the ring to be scrutinized by judge Sherrie Broadwell of Raleigh.

"In the halter classes, I look at the conformation of the animal," Mrs. Broadwell said after the show. "In showmanship, it's on the child, and how the child displays the horse."

When Mrs. Broadwell selected her junior showmanship winners, she asked them to identify parts of the animals or bridles. She said she was impressed with the answers.

"I asked the top three a question, and all three got them right."

With the task of judging several breeds and sizes of horses, donkeys and mules against one another, Mrs. Broadwell said she had to remain consistent.

"Each horse has a perfect type, and gets judged against it. I look for straightness and a good neck," she said.

The youngest competitors Thursday waved their ribbons just as proudly as the Grand Champions.

Casey Johnson, 4, of Rose Hill placed second in her mule division. Sweet Pea, her miniature American Paint, was a gift from Santa Claus.

When asked what she liked best about showing horses, Casey did not hesitate.

"Winning," she said with a giggle.

Katlyn Radford, 6, has been showing animals for three years. Thursday, she showed Babs, a 4-month-old miniature mule.

The Spring Creek Elementary student plans for the future, and enjoyed seeing the different horses at the show. "When I grow up, I'm going to be a veterinarian," she said after placing second in her division.

Six-year-old Michaela Vick of Nashville won Reserve Champion for Jacks and Jennies in just her second show. "It felt kind of good," to win the trophy, Michaela said.

Ashley Bunch of Clayton took home the Junior Showmanship crown for her age group.

"It's fun, and it keeps my mind off of everything else but my horse," the 12-year-old said. Ashley said the shows help her develop a relationship with her animals. "I like getting to know them better," she said.

As the evening progressed, the animals got larger, and the competition tougher.

Diana Mann of the Black Jack community won English Grand Champion and Champion Gelding Pony, among other honors.

She says she has been showing horses all her life. Little Joe, her Tennessee Walker and quarter horse, is in his 16th year.

Mrs. Mann said the secret to showing is developing a relationship. "It's about how you communicate with your horse, and how he listens to you."

The competition at shows is friendly, she said.

"We all congratulate each other, and help each other tack up. A lot of us are friends. We trail ride together," she said.

Mrs. Mann said she was encouraged by the number of young people showing at the fair.

"It tells me that there's more people interested in horses," she said.

Mrs. Broadwell said showing livestock provides a creative outlet for the children, giving them a sense of responsibility. "Any child who messes with a horse, or steer or rabbit or whatever; they don't have time to get in trouble," she said.