Boyd Allen

Curry County 4-H sent five horseback riders to the state fair this year to compete in Western and English pleasure, English and Western equitation and showmanship.

Volunteer Lana Walker said the Rail Riders group from Brookings sent three of the five 4-H riders to the competition.

Jessica Hopkins competed in showmanship and English equitation. She received a red ribbon in equitation and a blue ribbon and entry into the medallion class for showmanship. She was showing her mare, Cali Dee.

Entry into the medallion class signifies the rider is in the top 10 percent of riders competing. Blue is a first place and red is second place. Riders are judged against a list of guidelines for each event and for each division.

“I love the whole experience,” Hopkins said, “meeting new people, the chance to compete, and the memories I will keep for my whole life.”

She graduated last year, so this was her last year in 4-H, but she said she might help next year even though she can’t compete. She has been riding since she was 4 and was taught by hesr grandmother, Rose Hopkins.

Victoria Muro, a senior at Brookings-Harbor, qualified in showmanship, English equitation and Western equitation and received all reds in her classes.

Muro has been riding for five years with the 4-H group and said, “I plan to continue next year in the same events.” But, she added, “I’ll practice more next year.”

Sophomore Abby Walker qualified in showmanship, English equitation, Western equitation and dressage. She received blues in showmanship, English equitation and dressage, and a red in Western equitation. She rode a gelding named Joey.

The Rogue Riders from Gold Beach sent two riders, according to Walker: junior Samantha Mazur earned a blue ribbon in English equitation and reds in Western equitation, showmanship and dressage. She was showing on a 3-year-old mare she is training herself.

Emma Mazur, an eighth-grader last, received blues in showmanship and dressage and reds in Western equitation and English equation. She was showing a gelding named Smiles.

Walker said the riders train their horses all year and compete at the county level to qualify for state. At the state fair, local riders competed against hundreds of qualifiers from most counties in Oregon.

She said the state competition provided the riders with “a really good understanding of their abilities and progress in training their horses and also on things to work on for themselves.”

The two local groups manage themselves, according to Walker, but she helps when needed and they ask others in the community to help the riders.

She cited Hopkins and Amber Espinoza at Winchuck Equestrian and Judy Klus at Full Circle Farms as well as Kathy Mazur, Megan Boardman, Monica Hiner and Janice Gober for helping the program.

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