GREENVILLE — For 16-year-old Crystal resident Krysti Jolley and her American quarterhorse Ralph, participating in the Montcalm County 4-H Fair’s showmanship contest Monday was a surprise.
“I was like, ‘Wait, what?’” Jolly said. “I need to do what?”
Jolley found out the night before the event it was required for her at the Montcalm County 4-H Fair.
“I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” she said. “Before this fair I was at the one in Gratiot County and showmanship wasn’t required at all.”
Showmanship requires a horse owner to demonstrate the ground manners of a horse. It involves the horses owner or trainer to be on the ground leading a horse, wearing a halter or bridle, through a series of maneuvers. The horse itself is not judged on its conformation. Rather, the exhibitor is judged on how well he or she exhibits the animal to its best advantage, with additional scoring for the grooming and presentation of both horse and handler.
“Basically you have to spiffy your horse up and make it look nice,” Jolley said. “You have to show that your horse respects you because if your horse doesn’t respect you it will drag you all over the arena.”
Jolley learned from her teammates how to do the showmanship part the night before the event. Dakota Chesebro of Stanton helped Jolley prepare before the event.
“You want to be proper through the whole thing,” Chesebro said. “We all helped her a little bit and we just had to teach her when to move and where to move.”
Angelina Jolley described how her daughter was feeling when she found out she had to participate in the showmanship contest.
“A little overwhelmed,” Angelina said. “Her and her girlfriends were pretty much trying to learn the patterns as fast as possible.”
Jolley took honorable mention in the showmanship contest on Monday.
“I didn’t come in last so I think I did pretty good for learning it the night before,” Jolley said.
For learning it as fast as possible and in one night her mother felt her daughter did well for her performance.
“I think she did pretty good all in all for only finding out the night before that she had to do it,” Angelina Jolley said.
Jolley has been around horses her entire life, according to her mother. Angelina Jolley grew up in Wyoming, Mich., so she was not around horses until they owned them when her daughter got her first horse.
“Her first horse Honey was given to her by her grandfather,” Angelina Jolley said. “But Honey got a rare disease that gave the horse gangrene under the skin and it infected the brain and died.
“Krysti cried for weeks over the loss of Honey,” she said.
Besides the sudden loss of Honey, horses are a wonderful part of life for the Jolley family.
“It has been fabulous,” Angelina Jolley said. “It has been a pretty positive for Kyrsti and horses have been a massive positive experience on Krysti.”
Jolley’s parents bought Ralph five years ago from Howard Farms in Howard City.
“He was raised as a racing horse,” Jolley said. “He has bad feet, he throws shoes all the time and the soles of his feet are really tender so that doesn’t make a good racing horse.”
Jolley loves riding horses and looks forward to the rest of the contest during the Montcalm County 4-H Fair.