Franklin County youths enjoy rodeo
Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 27, 2000
BUDE — &uot;If you don’t like dust, if you don’t like dirt, if you don’t like stink, you’re not going to like horse shows,&uot; Ruthie Partridge said Saturday at the Franklin County Fair’s 4-H Youth Rodeo and Horse Show.
Partridge’s 12-year-old daughter, Ashley Hancock, was a contestant in several of Saturday’s events, which included classes in showmanship, halter, pole bending, barrel racing, arena racing and three forms of calf roping.
Despite the dirt, smell and treacherous heat, Partridge and Hancock were joined by a small but familiar group of children and parents for the show and rodeo.
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&uot;Most of my friends are horse people,&uot; Hancock said. Many of the Wrangler-clad youngsters are members of the Franklin County 4-H Club.
The encouraging yells from the arena’s sidelines made it clear that the children were competing against themselves rather than their fellow contestants and friends.
Several of the children have been riding horses nearly all their lives.
&uot;I’ve been riding horses ever since I started walking,&uot; Hancock said. &uot;I’ve always liked horses.&uot;
Saturday was 5-year-old Sara Clanton’s first competition in which he took showed her mare, Star, in the halter class event.
&uot;I love to ride horses,&uot; Clanton said shyly to her dusty roper-style boots — which were on opposite feet. &uot;These shoes hurt my feet; I have them on wrong.&uot;
Will Halford and his sister, Morgan, have been riding for almost two years.
Will, 8, said he sometimes doesn’t feel like caring for his horse, Bridget. So why does he do it?
&uot;’Cause she’s my horse,&uot; he said, patting the mare’s braided mane lovingly.
&uot;She talks to me, you know. She tells me why she messes up,&uot; he said.
While the children love their horses, parents love the fact their children are involved in such a &uot;healthy&uot; activity.
&uot;Riding horses is the best thing that ever happened to our kids,&uot; Hope Thimmesch said. &uot;We enjoy it as a family.&uot;
Not only are shows and competitions a chance for the family to spend time together, the experience teaches children discipline, several parents said.
&uot;Last night they were in before 10 and up before daylight,&uot; Thimmesch said.
Partridge agreed that showing and competing horses is a &uot;family sport.&uot;
Unlike popular sports such as football and baseball where parents sit in the bleachers, horse shows and rodeos are an opportunity for parents to be the coaches.
&uot;If you look around, all the parents are close to their kids,&uot; she said.
Partridge also said having horses has kept her daughter &uot;out of trouble.&uot; She would much rather be with Ashley at a horse competition on weekends than have her &uot;hanging out&uot; unsupervised at malls or movie theaters, Partridge said.
Debbie Halford, mother of Morgan and Will, agreed. &uot;Hopefully, if it takes, it’ll keep them out of trouble,&uot; she said.
Pauline Herring, owner of Ridgepoint Ranch and Gardens, said she has been riding horses since she was a young girl and passed the love on to her adult children.
Even with all the activities available to children now, Herring said horses will continue to be a favorite with children. &uot;They’ll always do this,&uot; Herring between cheers for the children who call her &uot;Miss Pauline.&uot;