Kids show off a year of work at county fair –
By Patricia Beech –
The hard work that local 4-H members invested in their horse projects during the past year was rewarded last week at the Adams County Fair, when several club members from across the county qualified to compete at the 2017 Ohio State Fair.
Becky Durban, adviser for the Lawshe Shadow Riders Club, says the horse projects are very time intensive and require real “devotion from kids who choose to participate”.
Zeke Eldridge, a North Adams High School student and Shadow Rider member, understands the demands that come with choosing horses as a 4-H project.
Eldridge, who says he “learned to ride before he could walk”, will compete with his horse Beauty at the state fair. This will be his fourth year to compete at the state level.
“It means I’m good enough to compete against the best in the state,” he says. “I’m looking forward to getting in the arena and running the pattern.”
Zeke says he thinks he “might place, but doesn’t know about getting first place, but he’s hoping for it.”
Zeke’s mother Patsy Eldridge says she believes the work her son and other 4-H members do throughout the year benefits them throughout their lives.
“Kids gain a work ethic,” she says. “4-H projects get them out of the house instead of playing video games. I don’t ever have to say anything to Zeke, he takes care of his responsibilities, he does everything that needs done when it comes to taking care of his horse.”
Gracie Roades, a member of the Stirrin’ Up Dust 4-H Club, also qualified for state with her two horses, Andy and Annie. She showcases her horses in year-round Eventing competitions which require horse and rider to compete across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-county, and show jumping. This will be her sixth year competing at the state level.
She says her parents, Michelle and Jeff, are critical to her ability to compete in numerous horse shows throughout the year.
“They travel everywhere with me and the horses,” Gracie says. “I really couldn’t do this without them.”
Michelle Roades says that 4-H has been instrumental in keeping her daughter interested in horses.
“The advisers, parents, and volunteers are great motivators for these kids to keep working with their horses,” she says. “They have such a great love for their animals and they enjoy it so much, it’s such a positive thing.”