Local 4-Hers at State Fair

Photo submitted Devin Shutts, of Belpre, leads her horse, ThePleasuresAllShine (Marge). Shutts recently competed in the horse show at the Ohio State Fair for the first time.

During her last year as a member of 4-H, Devin Shutts, of Belpre, qualified for competition at the Ohio State Fair Horse Show for the first time, marking a sweet end to an important chapter in her life.

“I didn’t place but I had so much fun,” said Shutts, 18, who graduated from an online school in June. “I’ve been riding for as long as I can remember and I’ve been a member of 4-H for as long as I can remember. It’s going to be really difficult not doing this anymore.”

Shutts was one of five local girls who qualified for the horse show. Another 39 Washington County youth presented projects at the fair, said Bruce Zimmer, 4-H Youth Development Educator for Washington County’s Ohio State University Extension office. Results are available on the WashingtonCountyOhio4H Facebook page.

Cassie Dennis, 16, of Vincent, is an Ohio State Fair veteran but this year’s competition did mark her first with a new horse, Jesse.

“It was a challenge with it being his first year,” she said. “It made me a little nervous.”

Dennis placed eighth in Hunter Showmanship and also competed in Western Showmanship.

“I practice the whole year leading up to the state fair,” said the Warren High School junior.

The riders who qualify always make time for some relaxation at the fair following their events, said Zoey Carson, 13, of Vincent.

“We enjoy going up and riding rides and hanging out, going to the stores up there,” she said. “We usually watch some of the older kids, too.”

Carson participated in the maximum four events at the fair, qualifying for Hunter Showmanship, Western Showmanship, Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle. She placed third in Hunter Showmanship and eighth in Western Showmanship.

“It takes a lot of work,” she said. “Usually we ride a lot, several times a week.”

The girls still have more fairs ahead of them this year, as they participate in the Washington County Fair and the Barlow Fair.

Both will be a more relaxed experience than the larger arenas of the state event, said Shutts.

“I was really, really nervous,” she said. “I knew my horse knew what she was doing but it was very different there. There are so many people.”

Also representing the area in the horse show were Courtney and Abbe Ackman. Courtney placed in ninth in Horsemanship.