SYRACUSE - The 4-H Horse Program six-member team of Rachel McCarthy, Sarah Burgoon, Kendra Hockran, Mikaela Swanson, Emily Swanson and Emily Markham earned the honor of New York state champions at The Great New York State Fair in Syracuse.
The team began practicing months ago, meeting weekly with their horses to develop, choreograph and practice there drill team presentation. The Chautauqua County 4-H Horse Drill Team is coached by Ann Masood of Fredonia with assistance from Fran Hockran of Bemus Point.
4-H Drill team is a synchronized equine event in which six riders from a county are to develop their own drill, 5 to 10 minutes in length, each drill must include, but is not limited to the following four maneuvers: Pinwheel; Thread the needle; Oblique; and Mesh/interlocking fingers. The Chautauqua County riders with one alternate developed a captivating performance set to a Star Wars theme outfitting both themselves and their horses in themed outfits. Executing maneuvers on a horse is difficult and synchronizing with five other riders is even more complex, add in costumes and music can be a challenge, but the Chautauqua County 4-H Horse Program participants were successful.
The Chautauqua County 4-H Drill Team members, pictured from left, are: Rachel McCarthy on Badger, Sarah Burgoon on Tornado, Kendra Hockran on Jack, Mikaela Swanson on Cruiser, Emily Swanson on Sugar, and Emily Markham on Will.
This is the second time in a row that the Chautauqua County Drill Team has won a state title. As winners of the state drill team competition they were presented the Laura Beth Jansen Trophy. Laura was a dedicated 4-Her who lost her life in a car accident in December 2006 at 18 years old. She was said to exemplify a 4-H youth by those that knew her. The winning run of the Chautauqua County 4-H Drill Team can be seen on youtube.com. Being 4-Hers not only do these kids ride but they participate in several 4-H youth development projects and programs.
Coach Masood said, "I couldn't be prouder of these ladies, they have worked so hard and so well together. Great job ladies."
Chautauqua County's state title also earned them the opportunity to perform as the opening performance of The Great New York State Fair's Barrel Racing Event in the Toyota Coliseum. The exhibition was well received by the over 1,000 spectators.