Jackie Apenhorst, left, and her horse, Dusty, and her sister, Heather Apenhorst, and her horse, Chippy, are ready to attend and compete at the 4-H State Fair Horse Show in September. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Jackie Apenhorst, left, and her horse, Dusty, and her sister, Heather Apenhorst, and her horse, Chippy, are ready to attend and compete at the 4-H State Fair Horse Show in September. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE

Two sisters from the area are going to the state fair horse show once again.

“I’ve been going to the state fair horse show since 2009,” said Jackie Apenhorst, owner of Dusty.

Her sister, Heather, stated, “I went to my first show…in training with Chippy in 2011.” 

The sisters, daughters of Lynn and Lisa Apenhorst of Etna, are bound for the Minnesota State Fair Horse Show Sept. 12 through Sept. 15, after the hubbub of the state fair winds down, because they each placed with the same number of points at the Fillmore County Fair horse shows through participation in the various horse classes.

Jackie was given sixth place in the state fair lineup for the Fillmore County 4-H Horse Project because she’s older. Heather was seventh in line. 

“This year, I was in all the classes – showmanship, English pleasure, English equitation, Western pleasure, horsemanship, trail and gaming – barrels, jump figure eight, poles and keyhole,” said Jackie. “In horse training, I got grand champion with a different horse, and I also did horse-related. I got a blue in Western pleasure, English pleasure, barrels, jump figure eight.  I got reserve champion in horse-related — I did a project on the shades of roan.”

Jackie’s been working with her horse since the county fair to prepare him for work and show during the state horse show, as she’s “working on collecting him more, teaching him to go slower in Western pleasure class and extending his walk, trot and canter for English pleasure, and pushing him to go faster for barrels.” 

She’s also got to get herself ready for a whole lot less sleep; while the family is at the state fair, the girls must practice in the ring as early as 5 a.m. and often do not get done with the day’s competitions and spectating until at least 11 at night. 

“The hardest part is going to bed and working your horse early.  Everybody’s working their horses in the ring, so you have to be aware of what’s going on around you,” said Jackie.  “But I always like watching other people’s classes, cheering for them, picking out horses and judging them — I like placing them — and all the activities going on in the coliseum, the booths that are set up.”

Heather’s county fair experience was a good one, earning her the seventh place state fair trip that would not exist unless her mother had sent an application for it to 4-H.

“I took a horse-related project on how to stitch up a wound, I took my horse Chippy to the fair in all classes, and I’m going to the state horse show in barrel, jump figure eight and Western pleasure,” said Heather. 

She and Chippy have been spending mornings and afternoons perfecting their gaming class techniques, riding and keeping both horse and rider in shape for the state show.

“There’s a lot of stuff for him to get used to…different people, motions, different objects, a new bit. He has to get used to new horses in the arena, too,” said Heather.  “He’s never been in the ring with other horses.”

Heather likes the state fair horse show because it’s a chance to ride Chippy in the great coliseum, “but you’ve got to work to get up there.  I like to watch the classes and the gaming.”

Lisa rounded up the state horse show fun, noting that the 4-Hers and their parents love to “cheer on the other Fillmore County kids, and after the awards ceremony, there’s a dance.”

“It’s a great learning experience, well worth going and the days off from school.”  Jackie added, “It’s a good learning experience. If you ever get a trip, you should go.  It’s a lot of fun and you get to meet new people from all over the state.”