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Horsing Around in 4-H

Garrett Mortensen, Staff Writer

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While high school students care for their cars, Bingham High junior Megan Larsen cares for her horses.  She competes in rodeos, more specifically the 4-H program in Salt Lake County. She competes in the “Show” and “Speed” areas of the event. The “Show” area is where the contestant shows how well they control their horses. The “Speed” is where they race around poles and barrels, as well as jump over logs in a timed event.

Megan has been around horses since the age of eight. Jennifer Larsen, Megan’s mom,  recalls, “She inched her way to the neighbors pasture and started watching him train his horses. She started cleaning stalls, then helping brush the horses, and then finally was allowed to sit on them once in a while.”

While curiosity and interest may have been the main factors in getting Megan into the rodeo, there were other variables involved. Doug Sullivan, the owner of the horses said, “Rebecca Haymore came quite often to help in the horse training and I know that may have influenced Megan to see young ladies interested in working with horses.”

Megan’s new-found hobby wasn’t always easy.  “Megan became attached to a horse named Chico,” Megan’s mom said. “She started training this stubborn horse, which was okay because she was a bit stubborn herself. Meg is a very disciplined, hard working person that has put her heart and soul into the training of this horse. She fell in love.”

Together, Megan and Chico have become one of the best duos in the state. However, becoming great wasn’t easy. “Her early 4-H experiences on Chico were rough, with Chico many times running away with her, bucking, or some other type of insubordination that he was good at,” Sullivan explained.

Although they didn’t win, they continued to practice and get better. “Megan continued to work with him, spending time grooming, leading, riding, feeding, cleaning his stall, etc,” said Sullivan. “I would spend some time with her helping her understand how to get him to mind and pay attention to her, and some riding techniques, or how a horse thinks,” he said.  All of their work paid off in 2011 and 2012, when they took second and first, respectively.

Megan’s passion for horses will continue on to college and possibly even her work. She hopes to go to Utah State, be involved with the Equestrian program there, and eventually become a large animal vet.

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Horsing Around in 4-H