At the Southern Regional 4-H Championships in West Monroe Louisiana, local equestrian Katie Johnson, a Chesapeake Bay Governors School Student and senior at Washington and Lee High School, will be representing the state of Virginia at the end of this month and hopes to bring home the championship.
Katie has been an active member of the Westmoreland Livestock Club for nine years and competes each year with her goats, poultry and rabbits. But her hardest competitions come from the equestrian world. Katie has been riding and showing horses since she was three and has won many county and State Championships.
We travel to 4-H, Open, and state horse shows around Virginia during the summer with the years highlight being the Virginia State 4-H Horse Show in Lexington each September. It is a long uphill climb with lots of time in the saddle. That is the biggest problem for me, time. With my school studies, playing softball for W&L, clubs, church, working and volunteering as a member of the Montross Rescue Squad it doesn’t leave much time to practice.
Many nights are spent in the dark in the saddle trying to keep my horse and myself a team. It can be difficult when your teammate has a mind of her own and my not see things your way all the time. But, I am very lucky my horse
“Barbie” is very smart and once she learns something she does not need to go over it and over it.
Barbie is a seven-year-old quarter horse who came to me by accident. We were at a horse sale in Lexington Virginia and she had come in to the sale from Ohio in a terrible snowstorm and was exhausted. We were not there to buy a horse we just go for fun each year but it was love at first sight.
We knew she was special as soon as we saw her. She is an unusual pale palomino almost white which makes her stand out in the ring. I have been showing her for four years now and she is a dream. Each year we travel to Lexington for the 4-H show to compete with six hundred other youth. It is great but, some serious competition.
I had qualified in years past to travel to the Southern Regional’s but could just not make it. This year it is a go! It will be a long ride to Louisiana with Barbie in tow. Eighteen hours or a little more with a horse trailer. We leave the July 29, drive to Georgia where we will layover there and head out again the next day.
Katie and Barbie will get a rest on Wednesday and they plan on visiting the Duck Dynasty family. We will only be two miles from their place, it is so exciting we just love that TV show!
It is an honor to represent the western senior 4-H riders of Virginia. There will be plenty of competition as the best riders on the southern tier of the east coast will be in Louisiana to compete. Texas is a worry, they always have great riders and with 103 competitors in Katie’s first class it will be tough. I just hope we get there safe and everyone stays healthy and we can at least place.
Just placing would be great. On the first day of competition the judges will choose only 10 riders out of the 103. Those riders will come back to ride for the whole enchilada! The rest get to go home. It is all or nothing. I would love to win but you know what they say “It’s not the top of the mountain that is so beautiful and breathtaking it is the climb.”