Friday, September 22, 2023

Mane management

Staff Writer | September 13, 2023 6:55 PM

OTHELLO — The Othello Fair hosted the 4-H, Grange, Future Farmers of America and Open Halter and Showmanship horse judging event Wednesday morning, which saw competitors lead their horses around the ring and demonstrate their presentation and the quality of the horse itself.

“Showmanship is showing off their horses, halters are their builds, the horses build,” said event organizer and Othello Fair Board Member Kyya Grant. “It's going good.”

Grant elaborated on what goes into the competition. She said Halter and Showmanship differs from other horse competitions in that the competitor never rides the horse.

“It's funny because some people don't like the showmanship because they’re not riding, but there's precision, you have to be, you know, on point with your horse. You have to groom your horse very well and it's a whole complete picture,” she said.

The 4-H competitors participated in the event before it opened up to anyone who had a horse and wanted to participate, including adults and children in leadline classes who are too young for 4-H or other memberships.

“Yeah, we’d just love to see more people, more kids,” said Grant. “We’re down. We had six horses last year, we have three this year. I'd love to see the numbers go up, but you know, it costs a lot of money to have a horse now. Feed is expensive, purchasing a horse, everything's more expensive.”

The competition’s judge, Genny Miller, who travels to fairs in order to judge similar competitions, spoke about what she considers in the judging process.

“So we judged halter this morning,” said Miller. “Halter is judged on the horse’s way of going and confirmation. So their breed type, sex type, like male or female, and their quality. Obviously, geldings need to look more masculine and mares need to look more feminine, smaller heads, more petite.”

Miller then explained more about how the competitors have to control their horses.

“And with halter, they do have to perform the specified pattern,” said Miller. “Obviously, there's more leeway for the little teeny tiny children with the walk trot.”

Katie Hammer brought her five-year-old daughter, June Hammer, and their pony, Iggy, to compete in the Halter and Showmanship event.

“My son did sheep last year and watched the horse stuff and (June’s) never showed before, so she said she wanted to take her pony here this year.”

Katie Hammer said that this was their first time at the event, but that she used to compete in Rodeos. She said that June is currently in a leadline class.

“I’m going to walk and trot,” said June. “I’ve been practicing at home.”

June said that her favorite horse event was barrel racing.

Katie Hammer said that she wasn’t sure how they would do in the competition since it was their first time, and because she said June saw a bee in the ring and was scared of it. Regardless, she said they would have fun in the arena.

“We've been doing horses our whole lives, and so we started our kids doing horses,” said Katie Hammer. “She (June) was riding at three months.”

Gabriel Davis may be reached at Download the Columbia Basin Herald app on iOS and Android.



Judge Genny Miller, left, watches as June Hammer and Katie Hammer compete in the Halter and Showmanship event at the Othello Fair Wednesday morning.



June Hamer and Katie Hammer stand in front of their pony, Iggy, before competing in the Halter and Showmanship competition, which was open to adults and younger children in addition to members of agricultural organizations.

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