Wilkin County 4H Horse Project – Championship Bound

Chloe Conzemius, Kate Haire, Danielle Miller, Jessica Miller, Lexie Tschakert and Dylan Bakken are competitors representing the Wilkin County 4H Horse Project in the state championships this September.

4H is instrumental in helping to create the future leaders in our community. Through 4H, children learn responsibility, determination, and dedication. Children ages 5-19 are eligible to become involved. In 4H, the Horse Project is very popular in our area of the Red River Valley.

In the Horse Project, children learn about their horse, go to clinics and attend skill building rides and seminars. Together the members help and support each other’s enthusiasm for riding and enjoying horses.

Last Friday, Wilkin County 4H held its annual horse show at the Red River Rider’s Arena in Breckenridge, Minnesota. At this show, 4H Horse Project members compete against each other to win classes and to hopefully be chosen to represent the Wilkin County 4H Horse Project at the state level.

The Minnesota 4H Horse Project Championships are held each September at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Minneapolis.

The 4H Horse Show day starts off bright and early with the last minute grooming and exercising of horses at the arena. It’s barely light outside when you can just make out the silhouette of a horse being exercised in the round pen. In the wash rack area, horses are beginning to line up to have a final bath. Trailer after trailer make their arrival at the showgrounds. You can see the nervous faces of the children as they look at the patterns that are posted of tests they must remember to do in some of their horse classes.

These kids are serious competitors; they are here to compete and to hopefully win a blue ribbon that will to allow them to go on to the state championships. At the state championships our Wilkin County equestrians will have the opportunity to compete again all the other county 4H Horse Project finalists.

Showmanship, Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, Horsemanship and Barrel Racing are among some of the classes available to participate in at the show. As each of the classes are judged, each rider prays silently for that blue ribbon. At the end of the classes, ribbons and placings are handed out and the anticipation for the end of the show along with the announcement of who has been chosen to go on to the state championship finals grows.

There are a limited number of state strips that are available to the Wilkin County 4H Horse Project members each year. This year two pleasure and two games trips were available. This means only the best of the best of those divisions will be eligible to compete against the other members of 4H at the State Championships in Minneapolis Minnesota in September.

The Wilkin County 4H Horse Project will be represented this year by state trip winners Chloe Conzemius, Jessica Miller , Lexie Tschakert and Dylan Bakken. Alternates are Kate Haire and Danielle Miller.

Congratulations and good luck to all at the State Championships! If you would like to help a child aged 5-19 become involved with Wilkin County 4H Horse project, please contact Monique Stelzer, County 4H Program Coordinator, 218 643-5481 email mstelzer@umn.edu.

Happy Trails!

LORI RICIGLIANO is a horse judge, trainer, riding instructor, equine photographer and clinician. She also hosts a weekly syndicated equine radio talk show “Hoof Beats with Lori”. Lori has held her horse judges license as a USEF / AHA — “R” rated licensed horse judge for more than 25 years and currently operates Ricigliano Farms Horse Training and Riding Academy near Kent, Minn. She can be reached by email or phone for any questions at 218- 557-8762 or riciglianofarms@gmail. com. Her website is www. RiciglianoFarms.com

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