Long, but rewarding, days at the State 4-H Horse Show
By Robert Pore, The Independent
This is a busy week for M.J. Hart of
Her morning starts at 6:30 a.m. and ends at midnight. During that time it is nearly non-stop as she coordinates the numerous events that will be going on during the
"It's a long week," she said.
Early Monday morning, Hart was on the job making sure everything was ready to start off the halter competition, which ran throughout the day at both the indoor and outdoor arenas at the Thompson Arena.
The forecast calls for another warm and dry week with temperatures in the upper 90s. But Hart said it's not the hottest as last year was a scorcher, as well as 2001.
On Monday morning, the temperature was in the upper 70s as the 4-H'ers and their horses got ready for the start of the weeklong State 4-H Horse Show with the beginning show in the halter competition for yearlings.
Hart's participation in the 4-H horse program started in 1992. After her children grew up and graduated from high school, she continued as a volunteer in 2002 with the State 4-H Horse Show. She has been a 4-H leader for nearly 25 years.
"I manage the arenas, and I try to keep the arena shows running on time," she said.
That means working closely with the many volunteers, judges and other people behind the scenes who help make the competition run as smoothly, on time and as organized as possible.
"There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, or it just wouldn't happen," Hart said.
She said there are more than 100 volunteers working behind the scenes.
"A lot of them are parents," she said. "I have a long list of people that, if I need help, I just call them and they will volunteer."
Hart said that willingness on the part of people to volunteer when needed to keep the 4-H Horse Show going is vital to the success of the show and is what 4-H is all about " family.
"I like the people and I have made a lot of friends here," she said.
Part of that bigger 4-H family is 13-year-old Kaitlyn Thesenvitz of
Thesenvitz feels at home at
"There's a lot of horses," she said.
She is one of the elite 4-H'ers who qualified in county and regional events to be able to participate in the state competition.
Horses have been a part of her life as long as she can remember. And, like all the other young horsemen and women at the 4-H State Horse Show, working closely with a horse, you develop a special bond.
"They will always forgive you," Thesenvitz said.
For her, that relationship with Bently has been developing since last November. They are still learning about each other. But, she said, so far, so good.
Amanda German, 16, of Cozad, is a member of the Bit 'N Spurs 4-H Horse Club. She and her horse, Skeeter, a 2-year-old gelding, were also getting ready to compete in the opening event of the State 4-H Horse Show.
German said she and Skeeter have been a team since Skeeter was born two years ago.
Like Thesenvitz, she is entered in multiple events at this year's show. This is her fifth year in the state competition.
Asked how long they have been training for competition, German said, "Pretty much since he was first born."
"I like working with horses as a team," she said.
Hart said the object of the 4-H horse program is to "have a working relationship with a horse and learn about the joys of horses and horsemanship and to have a lot of fun and meet new friends."
And that is true for Shaelyn Vering, 14, of Scribner, who is competing with her horse, Bet You Love This Kid. Vering and her horse have been a team for two years and this is her third year competing at the state level.
"I like the suspense of making it to the finals and once you are in finals it is so exciting," she said.
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