Youths have a ball horsing around at Franklin County Fair

August 21, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

WILLIAMSON, Pa. - The ribbon in her hand is green, but Kacie Oberholzer is anything but blue.

All that matters to the exuberant 16-year-old from Greencastle, Pa., is that at her first horse show, she got a ribbon.

"Doesn't green look good on him?" she asked as she held the ribbon up to her 17-year-old Percheron named Cloud. Five dollars richer, Kacie won fifth place in the Bareback Dollar competition at Sunday's Franklin County Fair Youth Horse Show.

Twenty-four young equestrians competed Sunday from atop quarter horses, mustangs and more. The competitions, which offered small monetary prizes, measured the skill, grace and even ingenuity of both rider and horse.


"Some are simple, obvious to judge like the egg and spoon," remarked Deb Braughler, judge of the competition. "The winner of that will still have their egg on the spoon." Some of the other competitions, like the Western Pleasure and English Pleasure, Braughler finds more difficult to judge.

"Not only do they (the horses) have to perform correctly, they have to make it look like a pleasure to ride them."

For Joanna Pugh, the pleasure was all hers as she took first in both the Western and English Pleasures for the senior division. Joanna, 17, of Greencastle, won first in numerous competitions Sunday, but according to her, she was there for the pleasure not the prize.

"This is a fun day," said Joanna, who competed along with four of her brothers and sisters.

The general consensus from the parents and young competitors echoed Joanna as they declared Sunday a day of "fun." Even the judge acknowledged the jubilant aura of the day.

"I enjoy seeing young riders at this level," said Braughler, a longtime rider, trainer and competitor. "It is nice to see people working with their own horses and competing for fun."

Ashley Brown, 18, who fell from her horse after her saddle slid, smiled as she again sat atop her Mustang named Sierra. "I am happiest when I am up here," she said.

According to Debbie Pugh, co-chairwoman for the Youth Horse Show, the event neared extinction two years ago.

"We heard that there was not going to be a competition because no one was there to run it," she said. So Pugh, together with her husband, Bryce, stepped in to chair the event.

Debbie Pugh said that the event continues for the kids who love to ride.

"Horses are a good thing," she said. "They are good for the kids."

The fair continues this week at the Chambersburg Rod & Gun Club Grounds off Pa. 995.

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