Horse, pony events delayed

daily reporter Staff Writer

GREENFIELD — The group sat looking a little glum. A few grumbled about standing water in the outdoor show arena.

Members of the Hancock County 4-H Horse and Pony Club had hoped Friday would finally give them the chance to compete in events that were canceled during fair week last month because of rain. But after a week of downpours, Friday’s contest was called off, too.

“We’ve been rained out in the past, but we’ve never been rained out twice in one year,” said Wyneta Duncan, superintendent of the horse and pony club.

Duncan, who has been working with the group for 50 years, said club members were disappointed after having to cancel the show for the second time in a month, putting the schedule weeks behind and leaving organizers scratching their heads while trying to plan another rain date.

Instead of jumping in the saddle and competing as planned Friday night, the group decided instead to have an impromptu pitch-in dinner. If they couldn’t ride together, they would at least eat together, they said. Over hot dogs and chips, they bemoaned the standing water in the outdoor show area and laughed that they couldn’t control the rain.

For 10-year 4-H member Lauren Dickson, 18, rescheduling the show means not only disappointment but a possible long drive. In a few weeks, she’ll be off to college at Indiana University. She said that she hopes to go to school with her final 4-H project finished and will return from Bloomington to compete no matter the date.

“It feels very open-ended right now,” said Dickson, who rode her horse, Jackson, almost every day preparing for the competition. “I just hope to finish soon.”

First-year 4-H member Maddie Overy had been riding, too, in hopes of getting some practice on the local level before moving on to competition at the Indiana State Fair.

Maddie, 13, said competing with her horse was her only 4-H project this year, and she also hoped the competition would be rescheduled soon.

Maddie’s grandmother, Linda Marsh, who lives in Hancock County and boards Overy’s horse, Nubs, was sad she hadn’t seen her granddaughter compete and is looking forward to attending the rescheduled event.

Duncan and fellow club leader Barb Pescitelli said they’re working as quickly as possible to reschedule the show, which was supposed to take place Friday and Saturday, but neither has a firm date to provide 4-H’ers.

Duncan said there is more to rescheduling than just picking an available date on a calendar; many pieces have to fit together, including finding adequate judges.

“We’ve got to get our ducks in a row,” Duncan said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”