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Reining in their interest

September 15, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

BOONSBORO - Morgan Angle, 9, has been around horses almost as long as she can remember.

Her older sister, Sara, 13, began taking Western-style horse-riding lessons more than six years ago. Morgan never had lessons, but she started riding when she was 5.

Now, six horses frolic with some cats in the Angle family's backyard.

The sisters, who have lived in Washington County all of their lives, compete all over the Tri-State area and took their horses to a 4-H competition at the Maryland State Fair on Aug. 26.

"We do something every week," said their mother, Michele.

Sara and her horse, Breezy, won several first places and a Grand Champion award. Sara started competing when she was 8 years old at the Washington County Ag Expo.

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The Angles also own three dogs, four cats and eight kittens. Sara and Morgan still show their dogs at the Ag Expo.

Morgan and her horse, Fancy, also won some first places, a third place and overall Grand Champion in the equitation category.

Sara, now in eighth grade at Boonsboro Middle School, said she likes riding Breezy on trails and would like to travel to different trails in the U.S. She likes competitions because she gets to spend more time with her horse.

Sara said that she would like to work with K-9 dogs or be a marine biologist.

Morgan, in fourth grade at Greenbrier Elementary School, is the more competitive sister. She wants to teach Fancy more complicated foot maneuvers and said she competes because she likes "getting ribbons."

When the sisters are at 4-H competitions, they have to care for their horses by themselves. Parents and handlers are not allowed to do any of the work.

The evening before a competition, the girls give their horses baths and dry them off. They band or braid the manes.

On the morning of a competition, the girls brush the horses all over and rub baby oil on their faces. They also have to shave around the horses' ears and noses so they look neater.

"It's a lot of hard work," Sara said.

Working with the horses so they know what patterns to walk in during a show is also a lot of hard work, Morgan said.

At home, the girls do the work themselves, too. Sara does all the feeding and works out with her horse for about 20 minutes every day. Every few days, they have to spend 30 minutes mucking out the stalls.

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