SHOWING HORSES - THE MOM FACTOR

June 05, 2001 11:00 pm
ENGLISH VERSION: Josie Cross of Elgin warms up with her quarter horse, Peppy, before participating in intermediate English equitation at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show Tuesday. The 14-year-old is a member of the Stable Mates 4-H group. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
ENGLISH VERSION: Josie Cross of Elgin warms up with her quarter horse, Peppy, before participating in intermediate English equitation at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show Tuesday. The 14-year-old is a member of the Stable Mates 4-H group. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

UNION The tension in the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show arena was almost visible Tuesday.

The 4-H horse show was nearing an end and a final chance at those top ribbons was dwindling for many of the youthful participants.

Jessica Hampton, 9, of the Haines Rough Riders Club had one more chance.

While older 4-Hers in the arena awaited the judges decisions, Jessica rode her quarter horse, Miss Baldy, up and down the track area, keeping her warmed up.

I dont think she knew what all was involved, Jessicas mother, Lisa Hampton, commented as Jessica rode by.

This is Jessicas first year showing Miss Baldy, which is leased from a neighbor.

The Eastern Oregon Livestock Show is Jessicas first show at which she entered showmanship, Western equitation and Western pleasure classes.

Mom came along, as most mothers do, hauling daughter and horse and camper to Union Sunday evening so all the checking in and setting up could be done before Monday mornings classes.

By Tuesday afternoon, with one white ribbon, one red ribbon, and one class to go, the initial excitement of all the firsts was nowhere to be found for daughter, horse or mom.

As Lisa Hampton informed her daughter that she hadnt yet had time to find anything to eat, that Miss Baldy needed to be kept warmed up, and that it wouldnt be long before her class, the efforts of the people behind the scenes became clear. Patience is the key.

As Jessica moved away once more, Lisa shrugged.

Lisa has been through the ringer in the past two days, tracking how the judges were moving the kids, making sure Jessica was in the right place at the right time, and being sure Miss Baldy got the necessary care.

Typical show stuff.

And then there had been the kid stuff. Comforting. Encouraging.

Showmanship didnt go as well as hoped with Miss Baldy, a retired cutting horse, proving less than willing to stand quietly amidst the other horses. Theyll work on that before the county fair, Lisa promised her daughter.

Western pleasure was better no problem with a red.

Jessica thinks showing Miss Baldy, is fun, but added that the horse just wants to go through the gates.

Lisa Hampton feels the energy and time devoted to this show, and getting ready for it, is part of what being a mom is all about, and she shares some history to prove it.

I showed many moons ago here, she says. And my folks were there for me.

But there are moments. Standing in the cold rain, waiting for the final class of the show, Lisa gives a little mom-smile and turns to go find some food.

Its time to take Miss Baldy and that kid home.