XENIA — Kelsey Fugate only had a week to work with her horse prior to Sunday’s western good grooming competition at the Greene County Fair.
With her regular horse unable to show due to injury, the 11-year-old — a member of Just Horsin’ Around 4-H in Jamestown — borrowed 25-year-old Take My Chances and handled her first county fair like a seasoned veteran, displaying top-notch grooming and winning first place in a contest featuring 4-H members of all ages.
“I was excited and I was proud of myself that I could do it,” Fugate said. “He’s a really, really good horse. He’s done it for a long time.”
Fugate, a Fairborn fifth-grader, doesn’t have the decades of experience of the horse, nicknamed “Chase.” But it didn’t seem to matter. She was able to nail the key components of good grooming: showering, cleaning the tack and brushing.
“Making him look nice,” Fugate said.
If the diminutive Fugate had any issues at all it was reaching the top of the horse to brush its mane. But Fugate even figured that out quickly.
“I kind of use a stool sometimes,” she said.
Owner Jennifer Hemphill of Rolling Thunder Farm in Jamestown never had a doubt in Fugate or the horse.
“I was pretty confident,” Hemphill said. “He’s a veteran. He’s been leased out to many, many children.”
Fugate also won her skillithon, finished second in her showmanship class and fourth in her pleasure class, walk/trot barrels and poles.
Amanda Huddleson was second in the western good grooming, followed by Regan Berwanger, Ashley Huddleson and Emma Beard. There were almost two dozen entered in the event that kicked off the fair.