Competitors learn teamwork, respect in youth trail class

Ashley Pollaski participated in the trail class on Tuesday morning at the Osceola County 4-H/FFA Fair. The class requires competitors to guide their horses through an obstacle course to test their precision and ability to follow directions. (Pioneer photo/Taylor Fussman)

EVART — After months of preparation, 4-H’ers had the opportunity to show off their skills and hard work during the youth trail class horse show on Tuesday.

As part of the Osceola County 4-H/FFA Fair, riders gathered to participate in what competition judges called one of the most challenging horse riding classes.

According to Laurie Smith, barn superintendent, the trail pattern class requires young riders to take their horses through a course which tests the team on maneuvering through obstacles, the health and cleanliness of the animal, following directions and precision.

Judge Judi Campbell, who has been working with horse classes for more than 40 years, said the trail class is a great way for riders to explore and build a relationship with their horse. She added trail class is the most revealing of the competitive classes in regard to how strong a team the rider and horse are.

“There’s a lot of leadership qualities (the riders) can learn,” she said.

Barn Superintendent Kathy Morren said in addition to leadership skills, participants also learn how to work cooperatively and how to take on a large amount of responsibility.

“(Trail classes) teach the kids how to work as a team with a 1000-pound animal,” she said.

Smith added competitors also learn how to be respectful towards everyone involved with putting the fair on and helping them have the opportunity to show their animals.

“This is a project we work on all year long just to have for one week for the kids,” Smith said.

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