State 4-H Horse Show Rewarding, Humbling


It's all about speed, as kids like Shianne Hoatson of Hershey race for a ribbon at the State 4-H Horse Show.

"It's a lot of fun," the high school junior said.

Speed attracts a crowd, but so do classes that are more about movement and quality of the horse. The competition is diverse, and so are the kids.

UNL Equine Extension Specialist Lena Cottle said, "Definitely have all spectrum of youth. We have kids in Omaha and Lincoln who board their horse somewhere and don't really have land all the way to kids who live in western Nebraska on a ranch and use their horses more for ranch work than showing."

Four-wheel ATVs have replaced horses on many ranches, but some still use horses with their cattle, and show their skills here.

"You have to pen cattle and move cattle around things," Cottle said.

Chance Mignery of Hastings may get better scores in horsemanship, but he likes the adrenaline rush of pole bending and barrel racing.

He said, "Just like a game you get to have fun in the game too, that's what you're doing at a game, trying to compete."

More than a competition, kids have to show knowledge of their horses.

Cottle said, "It's a pretty big deal, especially today, the classes that are going on they have to have mastered a high level to get here."

But for as much time as some kids have spent with their animals, the horses don't always cooperate when it counts.

That too is a teachable moment, in this humbling sport.

Shianne Hoatson said, "Sometimes it goes a little rough. Today I competed in poles and I wasn't expecting to do so hot, but there's always next year."