BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) – More than 350 young people and their families from across Texas are in the Brazos Valley for the 60th Annual Texas State 4-H Horse Show. This week-long event beginning July 24 is held at the Brazos County Expo.
This is known as the pinnacle of 4-H horseback riding program, which provides young people with hands-on experience in riding, developing and training horses. The week-long event will also include up to 40 competitive classes, educational programs, scholarships and college-prep opportunities for students. They will also participate in a variety of events, including English and Western.
Chelsie Huseman, Texas A&M Extension Horse Specialist, said it was a great showcase of the hard work of the participants. She thinks attendees can also learn a lot from the horse included in the events.
“If you’re not exposed to horses when you come to a horse show like this, you really learn what makes it so special to be part of working with a horse,” Huseman said. “They’re really kind of like what we call an equine partner. Horses are simply wonderful in the way they interact with humans.
Some of the 4-H students had a lot of interaction with horses throughout the 4-H Homes for Horses Program. The program connects students with at-risk horses that need training and attention to prepare them for adoption. Students are paired with a horse and work with it for a year.
David Kendrick has been paired with Haven. He said she was shy at the start of their process.
“She just ran away from me,” Kendrick said. In fact, the only way to catch it was with a piece of watermelon.
On the other hand, Madison Chaloupka said her horse Exotica doesn’t like being alone.
“She was just very tense and always had to have someone with her,” Chaloupka said.
Over many hours of training, Kendrick and Chaloupka have seen their horses transform. Chaloupka said she had to work a lot on Exotica’s independence and focus.
“What I have to do is talk to her constantly, even when I’m walking her around like ‘you’re fine, good girl’, just little words of affirmation that get her to focus on me rather than what surrounds it,” says Chaloupka.
Kendrick said Haven is now more comfortable with others and has more self-confidence.
“Now she’s running towards me from the pasture,” Kendrick said. “When I first got her she didn’t really like leading and walking with me and now I don’t even have to hold the halter.” She just knows she’s where she’s supposed to be when she’s by my side.”
Haven and Exotica will show off their skills at the horse show on Sunday. This is also where they will both eventually be adopted. Although it will be emotional, Chaloupka and Kendrick hope their horses find a forever home.
“I hope she finds someone who loves her as much as I do,” Kendrick said. “There’s no doubt that she’s one of my favorite horses I’ve ever worked with, and I really hope someone else likes her.”
For more information about the event and the schedule, click on here.
Copyright 2022 KBTX. All rights reserved.