County youths enjoy horsin' around at Fair

August 18, 2003|by DON AINES

WILLIAMSON, Pa. - About two-thirds of the way through Sunday's Youth Horse Show at the Franklin County Fair, Debbie Pugh of Greencastle, Pa., had about a dozen ribbons of various hues hanging from her left wrist, representing some of the prizes six of her nine children had won up to that point.

By the end of the afternoon, the family collected 13 of the 21 first-place ribbons at the fair's opening competition. From 4-year-old Abigail to 18-year-old Naomi, the Pughs represented a fairly large percentage of the contestants in the show.

"This is our big event of the year ... for our kids," said father Bryce Pugh.

When asked if the family raises horses, Debbie Pugh laughed and said, "No. I raise the kids." The family lives on a farm, but her husband is a field representative for a Christian college, she said.


Two other children, Abraham, 24, and Hannah, 21, were too old to compete in the youth show, but were there to compete in what was referred to as the "Jack Benny Class" for those older than 19.

Abigail competed last year as a 3-year-old in the Junior Costume Class, where contestants and their mounts can be led onto the arena, according to her mother. Sunday, the horse show veteran was seasoned enough to compete in some other classes.

Debbie Pugh said their oldest son, Benjamin, never was a rider. It was Abraham who got the family involved when he announced he wanted to work with horses for a living.

"My husband said, 'Let's get some horses and see what you can do,'" she said.

Joanna Pugh, 14, won three blue ribbons but finished second in Senior Costume Class. She dressed as a clown, and her horse, Buddy, was wearing an elephant costume, complete with trunk.

"He is very patient," Joanna said as she removed the elephant costume that covered Buddy from nose to tail.

Dusty Jo Shannon of Marion, Pa., won that event with her horse, Cody, whom she dressed as a fire truck. Her father is a firefighter with the Marion Volunteer Fire Co., she said.

Other entries dressed their horses as cows, cowboys and even a camel.

The show included more traditional events, such as walk-trot, English and American pleasure riding, and barrel racing, but is less formal than many competitions, said Linda Golden of Greencastle, a 4-H leader who has been involved in the show for several years.

"It's a very laid-back show. It's a family fun show," she said.

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