Over 350 youth, families in BCS for 60th annual Texas State 4-H Horse Show

Published: Jul. 23, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - More than 350 youth 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 starting July 24 is being held at the Brazos County Expo.

This is known as the pinnacle of the 4-H horse program, which offers youth hands-on experience with horsemanship, horse development and training. The week-long event will also include up to 40 classes of competition, educational programs, scholarships and college preparation opportunities for students. They will also compete in a variety of events including English and western.

Chelsie Huseman, a Texas A&M extension horse specialist, said this is a great showcase of the participants’ hard work. She believes 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 a part of working with a horse,” Huseman said. “They’re really kind of like what we call an equine partner. Horses are just kind of marvelous in the way that they interact with humans.”

Some of the 4-H students have had a lot of interactions with horses through the 4-H Homes for Horses Program. The program connects students to at-risk horses that are in need of training and attention to prepare them for adoption. The students are matched with a horse and work with them for a year.

David Kendrick was matched with Haven. He said she was shy at the beginning of their process.

“She just ran away from me,” Kendrick said. In fact, the only way we could catch her was with a piece of watermelon.”

On the other hand, Madison Chaloupka said her horse Exotica didn’t like being alone.

“She was just very tensed up and always had to have somebody with her,” Chaloupka said.

Through numerous hours of training, both Kendrick and Chaloupka have seen their horses transform. Chaloupka said she had to work heavily on Exotica’s independence and focus.

“What I have to do is just constantly talk to her even when I’m just walking her like ‘you’re okay, good girl,’ just little words of affirmation that get her to focus on me instead of what’s around her,” Chaloupka said.

Kendrick said Haven is now more comfortable around others and has more trust in him.

“Now she runs up to me coming in from the pasture,” Kendrick said. “When I first got her, she didn’t really like to lead and walk with me and now I don’t even need to hold the halter. “She just knows that she’s where she’s supposed to be when she’s right on my side.”

Both Haven and Exotica will display their skills at the horse show Sunday. This is also where they both will possibly get adopted. Although it will be emotional, Chaloupka and Kendrick hope their horses find a forever home.

“My hope is that she finds someone who loves her as much as I do,” Kendrick said. “There’s no doubt she’s one of my favorite horses I’ve ever had to work with, and I really hope someone else gets to love on her.”

For more information about the event and the schedule, click here.

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