On Saturday, December 18th, the Clark County Fence Riders hosted a Christmas Round Up for local families to come and learn about rodeo and horses. Children got to learn to rope and ride and got their pictures taken with a horse. More than 300 toys were donated and every child got free hats, scarves and gloves.
The 2010 Clark County Fair Court and other royalty arrived to help lead groups of children from station to station. What these young ladies found was an eye-opening experience.
The steady rain hardly slowed us down as dozens of families arrived. Children from ages 1 to 18 got to mingle with these majestic animals that some had never seen or will ever see again. There were looks of terror, cries of fear and hesitant stares as I helped the visitors mount up onto a horse and pose for a picture. At a later station, they would learn the basics of riding and be led around, but for several, this was their first time near a horse.
Many of the younger kids charged right ahead and never wanted to get out of the saddle. It took little effort to get them to smile at the camera. For others, it was a far different story. Sometimes, getting that first foot in the stirrup was worse than pulling teeth. For most, they were an inch taller and happier once they accomplished what they otherwise would never do. They faced their fear and sat on a thousand-pound animal.
Dozens of volunteers and horses converged at the Clark County Saddle Club to make this day a reality. They provided lunch and dinner for the children and we even had a special guest all the way from the North Pole.
This event really put everything into perspective. The animals that I’ve had all my life, that I don’t necessarily cherish as I’m ankle-deep in mud and manure, is a blessing. These children may never again touch a horse or get to ride, but thanks to this group, were able to learn a little about rodeo and themselves.