JAMESTOWN - Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County's 4-H Horse Program has been working together all year for the chance at competition at The Great New York State Fair.
This year the dedication and commitment to excellence was very evident from six members of the 4-H Horse Program. Rachel McCarthy, Sarah Burgoon, Kendra Hockran, Mikaela Swanson, Emily Swanson and Emily Markham are members of the 2012 State Champion 4-H Horse Drill Team. These young ladies began practicing months ago, meeting weekly with their horses to develop, choreograph and practice their drill team presentation. The Chautauqua County 4-H Horse Drill Team is coached by Ann Masood of Fredonia with assistance from Fran Hockran of Bemus Point.
4-H Drill team is a synchronized equine event in which six riders from a county are to develop their own drill, five to10 minutes in length. Each drill must include, but is not limited to, the following four maneuvers: pinwheel; thread the needle; oblique; and mesh/interlocking fingers. The Chautauqua County riders with one alternate developed an awe-inspiring and captivating performance set to a Star Wars theme outfitting both themselves and their horses in themed outfits.
The Chautauqua County 4-H Drill Team, from the left, are: Rachel McCarthy on Badger; Sarah Burgoon on Tornado; Kendra Hockran on Jack; Mikaela Swanson on Cruiser; Emily Swanson on Sugar; and Emily Markham on Will.
Executing maneuvers on a horse is difficult, and synchronizing with five other riders is even more complex. Add in costumes and music can be a challenge, but not one the Chautauqua County 4-H Horse Program Participants couldn't tackle with success.
This is the second year in a row the Chautauqua County Drill Team has won a state title. As winners of the State Drill Team Competition, they were presented the Laura Beth Jansen Trophy. Jansen was a dedicated 4-H who lost her life in a car accident in December 2006 at 18 years old. She was said to exemplify a 4-H youth by those that knew her.
The winning run of the Chautauqua County 4-H Drill Team can be seen on youtube.com. Being 4-Hers, not only do these kids ride, but they participate in several 4-H youth development projects and programs.
"I couldn't be prouder of these ladies," Coach Masood said. "They have worked so hard and so well together. Great job ladies."
The state title also earned the team the opportunity to perform as the opening performance of The Great New York State Fair's Barrel Racing Event in the Toyota Coliseum. The exhibition was well received by the over 1000 spectators.
Cornell Cooperative Extension is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 and all donations are a charitable contribution. To learn more about how to financially support Chautauqua County 4-H or how to become involved in Chautauqua County 4-H, contact the 4-H office at 664-9502 Ext. 212.