Horse show kicks off the fair


XENIA — This year’s horse show marked a bittersweet end and exciting new beginning for one brave rider at the Greene County Fair.

Ava Baker, 16 years old and the youngest of six in her family, was the only rider courageous enough to attempt three jumping patterns with her horse. Baker is part of the Saddle Up Your Horses 4-H club and a junior in high school.

Although Baker wasn’t able to get the horse to make the jumps completely, she said she’d done it many times practicing at home.

“W do this all the time at home, but I think it’s just we both got in our heads,” she said. “He was willing to do it, then when I said no, he was confused as well. I think the communication was off, because at home it was so much easier.”

Despite this, Baker was able to get her horse to walk over the jump, met with supportive cheers from her friends and family.

For Baker, this event marks the end of a three-year team between her and her horse. According to her mother, Ava has been working to save up for her own horse and originally intended to purchase the horse she has been showing, which she has been leasing instead.

Because the owners were unwilling to sell this horse, Baker decided to rescue a horse and now plans on showing her new animal as early as next year.

“I’ve been working with horses for about six years now,” she said, eager for the new challenge.

Baker competed in nearly every competition she was eligible for, and has quite a few ribbons to show for it.

The first winner, however, was Aylan Bell, in just her second year eligible to compete and first time getting the first-place ribbon. Bell won the English horse show and showmanship competition out of six contestants.

“It’s my first time being first place,” she said. “I feel great.”

Bell said she competed last year, but this was the first time doing this year’s specific pattern.

As she begins her career with her first blue ribbon, Bell said she’s excited to continue competing.

Contact Ethan Charles at 937-502-4532.

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