Members of the Bosque Farms Horse Show Project have been practicing their moves since April in preparation for the Aug. 4 horse show at the Bosque Farms Rodeo Arena.
Ten girls, divided into two groups of five each, ages 10 and up, have saddled up at Toni Miller’s riding arena, next to her Bosque Farms house off River Road. The girls will compete in the 4-H open-breed horse show, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4, at the rodeo arena in conjunction with the 63rd annual Bosque Farms Community Fair, which begins Aug. 2.
“These girls have worked hard,” Miller said at a recent practice session. “You can tell they’ve practiced at home.”
Miller, an instructor in the 4-H Program for the past four years, concentrates on teaching “good horsemanship, keeping balanced in the saddle and good hand position, so, no matter what the horse does, you’re safe,” Miller said.
Both English- and western-style riding events will be part of the horse show competition. English events include hunter under saddle and hunt-seat equitation. Included in western events are horsemanship, pleasure, trail and barrel racing and pole bending. There will also be a showmanship event, along with events such as Simon Says and a toilet-paper race.
In order to qualify for the show, the girls had to participate in a showmanship event at halter and ride in the under-saddle class, either western or English. When asked which event would be most challenging for the youngsters, Miller talked about horsemanship patterns, in which the rider will be judged on how she sits on and controls the horse.
“First, you have to remember the pattern and then ride the pattern — and that’s a lot to ask of a young person,” Miller said.
Kendra Miller, 19, a junior 4-H leader for the past five years, has been helping the girls in their practice sessions.
“I try to help them with the skills that they need to handle their horses and give them the skill to help them get their horses to do something they don’t want to do,” Kendra said. “I try to give them confidence.”
Freely giving her time since she got out of school in June, Kendra has gained the respect of the youngsters.
“They all want to grow up to be like Kendra, and that’s all right with us,” said Carmen Driskell, whose daughter Jennifer, will compete in the upcoming horse show.
Kendra, a sophomore this fall majoring in animal science at New Mexico State Univer-sity, has been riding since she was 9. On July 25, she took her palomino horse, Bo, to Tucum-cari to compete in the State 4-H Fair. At 19, this is Kendra’s last year of 4-H eligibility for competition. On Aug. 4, she will be at the horse show to help out members of the Bosque Farms Horse Show Project.
“I’ll be there to help the girls with patterns and whatever they need,” Kendra said.