MONTCALM TOWNSHIP — The Montcalm County 4-H Fair is underway, and to kick off the week, some 4-H’ers competed in showmanship during the horse and pony show on Monday.
Megan Wall, 15, of Pierson, was named the grand champion of the horse and pony show with her horse Tas.
“It feels really good,” Wall said.
Wall has been a member of 4-H for seven years and Monday’s win was the second time she placed as grand champion.
Wall’s cousin Ashley Bogardus, 13, of Sand Lake, took second and was named the showmanship reserve with her horse Cody.
“It was very fun,” Bogardus said of competing.
She has been a member of the 4-H for about five years, and this was her first time placing second.
According to show manager Barb Altizer, the 4-H’ers had to participate in Monday’s horse and pony show in order to compete in other events such as the speed event.
About 98 horses competed at different levels to be named grand champion and reserve of the horse and pony show.
“We are a little up (in horses) from last year,” Altizer said. “It’s pretty average though.”
Altizer said some of the 4-H’ers have been dealing with horses getting sick and having to drop out of the show.
Riders in four categories — advance, intermediate, novice and walk trot — were placed for showmanship and premium ribbons. Only the first and second place from the advance, intermediate and novice categories competed in the championship showmanship competition.
At the end of the week, an overall walk trot rider will be named.
During the horse and pony show on Monday, riders had to perform a pattern based on their category. During the championship showmanship competition, all riders performed the same pattern no matter what category they started in.
“They advance according to the ability of the rider,” Altizer said, noting some riders have been doing this many years, but, for some of the horses, it’s their first showmanship show.
Monday’s judge who placed all finalists based on their ability to complete the pattern, the uniform and condition of the horse was Jody Priem.
“Everyone did a fine job,” Priem said. “I applaud all who showed.”
Priem said the patterns were considered difficult and the riders took on the challenge.
“Everyone handled it very well,” she said.
Wall will go on to compete in the showmanship sweepstakes on Saturday, where she performs against other grand champions in showmanship. Altizer explained all the grand champions will spend the week learning how to show all animals for Saturday’s competition.
Monday’s horse and pony show was sponsored by AmericInn of Greenville.
New to the showing area this year is a covered bleacher area built with funds and material that were donated. Also new is a photo wall built in memory of Allison Pyle and Curtis Barendreght.