Trail class, ranch riding, barrles and more open Goshen County Fair
TORRINGTON, Wyo. — Goshen County 4-Hers and FFA students put on a show Sunday and Monday during the county fair’s horse show, competing in programmed rides, trail class, ranch riding, barrels, poles, halter and performance contests.
Monday morning, the kids competed in showmanship, where they were judged on their ability to exhibit their horse and presentation.
The Mulkey brothers Tommy, 12, and Myron, 15, were among the kids who competed in the show. In preparation for the show, Myron said it takes time to make his horse presentable.
“I wash him, I comb his mane and his tail, and pick his feet,” Myron said. “When I come to the show, I put show sheen on him and shiner for his feet, like you’d do for your shoes.”
When it comes to actually showing in the ring, the horse has to follow its exhibitor through a pattern. Training a horse to follow you through the pattern is difficult, but rewarding, Tommy said.
“When they listen to you and do what you want, it just feels nice,” he said.
Tanor Pickinpaugh, 16, has been showing horses for eight years. The animals require long and repetitive training to ensure they have proper manners in the show arena.
“You have to work with them every day and have patience,” she said. “You have to know what they’re going to listen to and make sure they respect you.”
Jordan Stoddard, 15, said some horses have personalities that can either help or get in the way.
“(My horse is) kind of impatient and he loves getting his way,” she said. “He also loves learning new things.”
She described her horse as being a quick learner, catching on to a new pattern quickly.
“Being able to practice beforehand and teach new things that he will comprehend helps me out a lot,” she said. “But when I try to teach him new things, sometimes he’ll go back to the old things, which doesn’t help me as much.”
Kendall Haas, 16, has a horse that can make things difficult during an exhibition.
“He loves to nibble,” she said. “During my showmanship class, he grabbed my lead while I was doing my pattern and he pretty much led himself. He still did a pretty good pattern.”
Cutter Smith, 11, has shown horses for three years. For him, it isn’t just about showing money.
“It’s about having fun,” he said.
It’s not only the 4-Hers and FFA students who show up at the county fair. Their families are an important part of how the students and their animals show up to present. Cutter’s sister, Megan Billinger, is one of the family members that helps him out. She said being able to watch and help her brother is fun.
“I think it’s a lot more stress-free, getting to see him succeed,” she said.
She and the rest of the family have to strike a balance between helping Cutter present and, at the same time, allowing him to compete on his own terms.
“We’re just offering him guidance,” she said. “If we see him struggling, we offer some advice. However, the outcome is totally up to him.”
Sara Kosmicki is another helper. Her daughter Kaycee competes in showmanship, and also needs the family to help get her ready for competition.
“We try to help her with the big stuff, like hauling water and putting a saddle on the horse, because she’s not strong enough yet,” she said. “But she knows how to show, and she does.”
Helping Kaycee compete also means Sara gets to share in the emotions that Kaycee goes through.
“Showmanship, she sits here and gets all nervous, which makes me nervous,” she said. “I like the riding part, because she can get on her horse and it’s all her.”