Teens compete for final time in horse show | CraigDailyPress.com

Teens compete for final time in horse show

Amy Hamilton

The Moffat County 4-H and FFA Horse Show marked the last time that Carrie Snowden and Mary Moon would watch their daughters display horsemanship skills at the county fair.

A long year of practicing and preparing horses for show culminated Monday with cowgirls and cowboys dressed in their best duds to showcase their horse-handling techniques.

“It has given them a sense of responsibility and a bond between them and their horses,” Snowden said watching from the bleachers. “When one of them has a sick or hurt horse, they’re all there helping out. It’s a bond that can’t be broken.”

Eighteen-year-olds Jessie Moon, Kacey Snowden and Sarah Kawcak grew up loving agriculture and became involved in FFA, Carrie Snowden said.

Rooms in the girls’ homes are filled with ribbons, pictures and display cases of belt buckles that pay tribute to the girls’ love of riding horses and participating in rodeos, the mothers said.

“They’re the hardest on themselves,” Mary Moon said. “They’re always reviewing tapes of themselves and picking out what they did wrong.”

Judges scored Monday’s participants on how well contestants handled their horses through a series of routines. Handlers had to ride horses in a series of circles and give non-verbal commands to their horses to maneuver through other skill sets.

Another competition involved contestants riding through a course set up with props. Riders had to maneuver horses near a mailbox close enough to check the box and ride a horse through a gate while the rider opened and closed it.

Riding in the Western style with just one hand on the reins proved to be a difficult task for Colton Murray and his horse, Cassidy. He said he was having a bad day because his horse wasn’t cooperating every time he entered the ring with her.

“I’m used to riding her with two hands, but you have to ride with one hand,” he said. “She just needs a bit more work.”

Other contestants seemed a bit more nervous about the competition as parents talked children through the routines.

Contestant Hilton Smith, 11, spent some time getting coached by his mother while atop his horse Sundance.

“I think it will be O.K.,” he said before entering the arena.

Amy Hamilton can be reached at 824-7031.

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