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Riders train and show horses
By MIKE FERGUSON
Of the Baker City Herald
Marlaena Kraft is one of a growing number of young riders to pull double duty with her horse.
If you're going to ride your equine and go for the glory of showing it, the Baker High School graduate figures, you might as well put in the long hours to train it yourself, too.
"I don't believe it's right to take home ribbons if it's not your work," said the 18 year old, who took five major awards from this weekend's 4-H Baker County Horse Show. "I know my horse (a seven-year-old named Sally) and what she's going to do. We've practiced so hard that I knew she'd do well. I'm really pleased."
Many of the high school-aged 4-H participants trained their own horses this year, said Lynn Schmitt, horse show superintendent. It's a development that 4-H leaders looked upon with pride, she said.
"I was very pleased to see the members who work with their horses make such big strides this year," she said at the conclusion of the show Sunday afternoon. "They've made a lot of improvement. That's important for their leaders to see, and for the members themselves."
It was obvious to the leaders, she said, that members had taken to heart what the judges told them during last year's show.
"One thing a horse show does is that members can learn how they can improve on the areas that need work for next year's show," she said. "It's a learning experience for all of us."
Emily Moore, who's set to enter her senior year at BHS, learned enough to garner the High Point Overall award by competing in English, Western and Dressage events aboard her horse Casper which she also trained herself.
"I just like working with my horse," she said, adding that he's gray "just like the friendly ghost," and hence his name.
Casper went home the owner of a forest green horse blanket, thanks to his best-in-show overall performance.
"I'll use it, if it fits him," she said, eyeing Casper's new blanket for size.
Sara Jury, who'll be a junior this fall at BHS, attributed her success to her five-year-old horse, Rosy which Jury trained.
"She has a really good attitude," said Jury, the Grand Champion at English Equitation, given for correct riding form and technique in that discipline. "I wanted to train her from the moment I got her for Christmas" seven years ago, she said, because good training methods help ensure success at show time.
"You just can't be too rough with them," she said. "They'll either be mean or scared of you, and either way they won't do too well" at the horse show, she added.
Powder Valley High School sophomore Jolynn Neske took home the sportsmanship award, given to the member with the most positive attitude.
Neske's horse, Tally, came up lame this spring, and so she had to compete on a three-year-old horse named Sioux that she began training in March.
"She was really green," Neske said. "She goes fast when you ask her to lope, and she has a tendency to run away."
But with "a lot of work and time and persistence," she's "a whole lot better than she was," Neske said. "She did all her gates correctly, and she stopped and backed up nicely. She's a lot more responsive now."
One of the show's three judges, Rob Weber of Moses Lake, Wash., told club members that they'd earned all the marks they received over the course of the weekend.
"I'm known as a hard judge, because I don't give things away," he said, advising the young riders and trainers to "go home and practice what you've learned. You don't need an arena go and ride in someone's hayfield.
"If it's in your heart to be a champion, you'll do just that," he said.
Blue Ribbon winners at the 2003 Baker County 4-H Horse Show:
High Point Overall Emily Moore
Sportsmanship Award Jolynn Neske
Overall Horse Showman Annalea Kauth
Novice Horse Showman Morgan Ward
Intermediate Horse Showman Katie Roach
Senior Horse Showman Annalea Kauth
Intermediate English Equitation Jolynn Neske
Senior English Equitation Marlaena Kraft
Novice English Equitation Morgan Ward
Junior Western Equitation Skylar Fast
Intermediate Western Equitation Shoshanna Ritch
Senior Western Equitation Emily Moore
Western Equitation Marlaena Kraft
Junior Trail Skylar Fast
Intermediate Trail Lindsey McQuisten
Senior Trail Emily Moore
High Point Trail Annalea Kauth
Champion Horse Judge Jackie Owens
Ground Training Emily Moore
Western Pleasure Marlaena Kraft
Kindergarten Pleasure Erica Harper
English Pleasure Marlaena Kraft
Champion Bareback Equitation Jessica Hampton
Champion Hunter Hack Sara Jury
Note: Based on their scores for equitation and showmanship, Kauth and Kraft qualified to compete at the Oregon State Fair.