Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 5, 2013

A special kind of horse show

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — It’s a round-up of a special kind as a Garvin County club looks to use horses as a way to touch the lives of some special people.

Members of the Garvin County 4-H Horse Club are coming together to show some individuals with developmental disabilities what it’s really like to take part in a horse show.

The club’s first ever free community service horse show will match this special group of people with horses Sunday afternoon, Sept. 8 at the Pauls Valley rodeo arena.

The idea is to help anyone with a mental or physical disability to learn how to prepare and present a horse in a show arena.

For Melani Kemp it’s a really special event, especially since she works with the 4-H club and the Garvin County Community Living Center.

“The 4-H kids and their parents will bring some of their horses, somewhere around 30 horses,” Kemp said about the 2 p.m. gathering that Sunday afternoon.

“The kids will help show them how to prepare the horse for the show,” she said.

“They will learn how to prepare for a horse show.”

Participants will get the chance to brush and groom the horses before the show starts, according to Kemp.

Then they can walk the horses in the arena in Wacker Park for halter classes.

They will also learn how the classes work, such as age groups and mare or gelding groups, she said.

The idea of a community service project like this one came up as the 4-H club was looking at ways to prepare for the Garvin County Horse Show on Saturday, Sept. 14, also at the rodeo arena in Pauls Valley and a few days after a county fair right next door at the county fairgrounds.

Kemp says it was really the idea of a single 4-H parent.

“One of the 4-H parents brought it up,” Kemp said about the idea of a project where 4-H club kids work with individuals with developmental disabilities.

“We wanted to give them their opportunity to see what we do at a show,” she said.

“They can learn how to prepare them and they can walk the horse around in the arena in front of a judge.”

The horses will be provided by the 4-H members to along with supervision and assistance from parents and leaders.

During the event each special participant will receive a ribbon for taking part, Kemp added.

Call Kemp at 405-588-3573 or email her at to find out more.