The Herald Bulletin

July 26, 2013

Horses and ponies pose, prance and round the barrels

By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — Kids at the Madison County 4-H Fair have a whole different take on the concept of dress-up than their city or suburban counterparts.

The idea is essentially the same, of course; it's just that the "dolls" they're dressing are much larger. And being ponies for the most part, they move.

But it's no less fun, and immensely creative.

Brady Shaw of Alexandria, for example, dressed himself as "Tonto" from the "Lone Ranger" — played by Johnny Depp in the latest incarnation of the western hero franchise — explaining that Tonto was a native American warrior from the Comanche nation.

The 10-year-old also decorated his Buckskin Paint pony, Precious, as Tonto's prized mount, Scout.

Nearby, Clarissa Kepner was dressed as Raggedy Ann, while her faithful mule, Amos, was decked out in a convincing Raggedy Andy costume.

There were also golf duos, rodeo clowns, a pair representing Dorothy and the Tin Man, and a golfer and his caddy. The pony was the caddy, of course.

Kepner said she's been doing the costume contest for several years.

"I like doing this because it gives me a chance to dress up as whoever I want to be," she said.

Elsewhere in the horse barns, Alexa Yost, 14, was preparing her horse, Hank, for the barrel races later in the afternoon.

At age 21, he's not your typical athlete, and he's never barrel raced before. "He's an old one, but he has a lot of spunk," said Alexa.

"I tried to teach him to do this in three days. He can get down and turn and burn," she added.

Alexa said she's participated in a lot of horse events at the 4-H fair over the years, but prefers barrel racing to other equestrian events.

"I like it a lot better because it doesn't have anything to do with politics," she said.

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