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Cummings and Goings in Agriculture

Lady’s Knee Injury Stalls Bid In Regional Show

By Steve Cummings

The 2008 Southern Regional 4-H Horse Show brought major accomplishments and highlights to the five 4-Hers from Yalobusha county, but also brought disheartening and disappointing occurrences to one of them.

Casey Byford, Casey Moss, J.W. Pipkin, Haley Smith, and Shae Ward competed in the regional horse show last week and were accompanied by their 4-H program associate, Christine Fielder, and a large delegation of relatives. Their quest was to do their best, represent Mississippi well, and hopefully place in the top 10 in their classes. For the most part they accomplished this.

However, for one of our 4-Hers, Haley Smith, the trip was a bitter-sweet experience. Haley was the final 4-Her from Mississippi selected to compete in the regional show and was determined to show everyone that she deserved the spot. She did just that. Haley was competing in pole bending, barrel racing, and the stake race. She faced 90-plus horses in her races, with a goal to make the top 15 and qualify for the finals and she did in two of them.

Haley and her mare, Lady, finished the preliminaries at sixth in pole-bending and ninth in the stake race. Top ten placings looked inevitable, but then the unthinkable happened. Lady came up lame after the preliminary stake race. A swollen knee required a veterinarian and the obvious decision was made that Lady could not run in the finals.     

Haley had proved she could run with the best in the 13 southern states. But now she faced more heartache. Her mare, Lady, may never be able to run again. It may be months before we know if the mare can ever be ridden again, but we know one thing.     

Haley Smith is perhaps the biggest winner at the show. Not only did she prove she deserved being there, but she also proved she could win. She also proved she could handle one of the biggest disappointments in her life. She now faces one of the biggest challenges in her young life, the patience and the wait to see if her horse can run again. If Lady recovers, you can bet on one thing, she and Haley will give it their best shot to qualify for the 2009 Southern Regional Horse Show in Little Rock.

While things didn’t work out for Haley Smith, J. W. Pipkin had the show of his life thus far. He and his spotted saddle horse, Popeye, entered four classes and placed in the top ten in three of them. They placed third in the non-trotting halter geldings, seventh in non-trotting equitation, and eighth in non-trotting showmanship. To qualify for regionals is quite a feat, but to go and place in three of the four classes you compete in is a major accomplishment. Look for J.W. and Popeye to be a major factor in Little Rock next year.

Shae Ward picked up the final top ten finishes for Yalobusha County as she placed third in non-trotting halter mares. Hundreds of 4-Hers compete in regional 4-H horse shows and never place, so a medal is a big accomplishment. Shae promises for a better show in 2009.

Casey Byford’s first regional show did not go as well as she had hoped, but it was not all bad. Casey made the finals in the stake race and being in the top fifteen out of ninety plus horses is no small feat. Casey will be ready for next year.

Yalobusha County’s final regional competitor was nine year old Casey Moss. Just qualifying for regionals as a nine year old is quite an accomplishment. Unfortunately, at the regionals, all age groups compete against each other and Casey went up against fifteen to eighteen year olds. Casey held her own with the older riders as she was just a few points out of the finals in several events. There is no doubt Casey Moss has the best future in upcoming Regional Horse Shows.

Throughout the show Yalobusha 4-Hers faced the good and the bad and represented Mississippi well. Mississippi’s 40 horses did well.

The final open horse show at the Yalobusha County Multipurpose Building is this Saturday, August 9. The judged show will start at 3 p.m. and the running show will start at 8 p.m. Come out and watch these 4-Hers and all others as they face their next challenge which is to qualify for the State Championship Horse Show in September.

As usual, the show is free and open to the public.

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