Heather Apenhorst practices her horse training on her horse, Chippy, to prepare for the Fillmore County Fair. 
SUBMITTED PHOTO Heather Apenhorst practices her horse training on her horse, Chippy, to prepare for the Fillmore County Fair. 
Heather Apenhorst’s high in the saddle and on the bench.

“I’ve been busy training my horse, Chippy, and I’m building a draft horse braiding bench,” related the 2017 Kingsland graduate and Bloomfield Cloverleaves 4-Her, anticipating a routine that comes with preparing for the Fillmore County Fair after school’s out for the year.

The 11-year member and president of the Bloomfield Cloverleaves 4-H Club has participated in numerous projects throughout her years in 4-H, and while school may be out at least for the beginning of her career, she’s glad to have the familiarity of saddling up and spending time in the training ring.

“I’ve been practicing with Chippy at the fairgrounds in gaming events – there are clinics held on Tuesdays and Thursdays with the county 4-H horse project,” she said. “I’m also bringing my training horse, Cody, to the fair for the horse training show. I’m in level four, and I’ll be ground-driving Cody for the judges.”

Apenhorst explained it’s important for her to have her own draft horse braiding bench as her parents, Lynn and Lisa Apenhorst, have their own draft horses and semi to haul them to shows across the country. She uses it when they go to draft horse shows to braid the tails and manes of the horses. The bench is needed to reach the horses because they’re so tall.

She’s bringing her bench and a project board to the fair for the horse-related project to show how she uses the bench during draft horse grooming at draft horse shows, including one in Story, Wyoming, and another one in Brookings, South Dakota, where the family showed in the Dakota Royal Charity Draft Horse Show.

Throughout the 4-H year, Apenhorst keeps busy leading the Cloverleaves and serving as youth chair for the Fillmore County 4-H horse project. She has projects coming together daily, she noted as she is also bringing a clothing project, a quilting project, another for home environment and she is doing livestock interview for horse. She is also going to be onstage for the Fashion Revue on Sunday.

“My favorite part of the fair is during the horse shows – there’s three days – and I like the jump, figure eight, barrels, keyhole and poles,” said Apenhorst. “Those are my favorite classes.”

Being in 4-H is important to Apenhorst because, she concluded, it allows her to spend time in the 4-H barn with her horses and allows her to meet other people who like to sit high in the saddle.