Colorado State Fair Doubts and Triumphs

Running in the Colorado State Fair Barrel Race. Ran a time of 18.236 and placed 2nd.

David Bonham

Running in the Colorado State Fair Barrel Race. Ran a time of 18.236 and placed 2nd.

Our winnings at the Colorado State Fair. (Beth Bonham)

     Competition at the Colorado State Fair is much more intense than any other competition I have ever done in the seven years I have been competing in the horse project. 

     This past weekend my parents, David and Beth Bonham and I went to the Colorado State Fair 4-H Horse Show, in Pueblo Colorado, where I competed in three different riding divisions; English, Western, and Gymkhana. This was the first time I had competed in English and Western divisions at the State level, and it taught me a lot and was a very important experience for me to go through. 

     “It was a great growing experience for you as a rider and as a competitor, about how you have to view things,” David Bonham said. “You take the good with the bad, know your limitations and know what you can do.”

     As I started competing in my first Western pleasure classes, I began wondering if I made a mistake because I knew I wasn’t going to place well compared to those with professional pleasure show horses. 

     I had to come to reason with myself and remind myself that I didn’t want a horse that was like that, I wanted my horse to actually live, act and move like a true horse, and it was my mom who made me realize this. 

     “The night before you were ultimately upset and I think what I told you resonated with you. You kept questioning and kept saying ‘I don’t have a pleasure horse, I can’t compete with these people,’” Beth Bonham said. “I asked you ‘is your horse pleasurable to you’ and you answered, ‘of course’ and I said ‘well then you have a pleasure horse.’”

     When my mom told me this, it was like an entirely new world opened up to me and I went back to just competing against myself. I was no longer worried about the other riders in my class, I began to just focus on having a good ride to Rosie and I’s standards, not anyone else’s. 

     Once I got into that mindset, our performance increased so much, this was shown in our English riding. 

     “I think that going into English your confidence level was a little bit higher than what it was in Western, still not as high as what it is in gymkhana, what it is ever in gymkhana.” Beth Bonham said. 

     Gymkhana is definitely where I am most comfortable. I believe exploring unknown waters was very important and was the best choice I could have made. I will definitely be competing at state again in all of the disciplines.