Riders at 4H Horse Expo Go The Extra Mile To Compete

By: Rudy Mezzy Email
By: Rudy Mezzy Email

Baseball, basketball, and horseback riding. One of these sports is not offered in most high schools, adding an extra challenge for the young riders at the 2012 4H Horse Expo in Grand Island.

Tiffany Walsh, a rider from Hebron, Nebraska, says, "You have to work at it and be dedicated everyday to get up in the morning, even if you have other extra curricular activities or other things you do. I play volleyball and I have basketball camps and stuff. So, you have to find time and be working at it all the time."
Laurel, Nebraska rider Sydney Cunningham also knows what it takes, "Riding everyday. Lots of exercise. Lots of repetition on the event that I'm doing. Just making sure [the horses] are all healthy and in the best condition to do the best they can."

Even with all the dedication from the rider, participants say the competition is still all about the horse.

"You and your horse just kind of have to be on the same page," says Walsh, "It's just communication."
"Knowing your horse and knowing what the judge wants from you and making sure that your horse is able to do that, " says Cunningham.

These athletes say their strategy has to be different from other sports because their only teammate has hooves.

"With teammates, you can talk to them and tell them, 'Oh hey, do this, do this' and you can do it," says Walsh, "but with horses, you can't really talk to them and they don't really understand. You just have to train them to know and learn."


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