The Miniature Horse prince and princess competition this year sponsored by the Lorain County Junior Fair has 11 contestants vying for the top spots.
The crowning at the fair — during a 6:30 p.m. Monday ceremony — will be the culmination of a competition that has been an ongoing process the entire summer featuring shows and events nearly every week.
The contestants are judged on many levels — showmanship, public speaking, knowledge of the animals, and through interviews and essays.
The contestants are:
Tyler, 15, is from Vermilion, attends Firelands High School and is a member of the Bits & Spurs 4-H Club.
“My mom worked with horses when she was growing up, and I found them interesting,” Tyler said.
Tyler has been working with the horses for close to three years now, and he has won ribbons for showing in the past.
“I feel like I am going to be good in the public speaking and the showing, but I am just a little nervous,” Tyler said.
Besides showing the horse Misty in the fair, he loves spending time with his friends, bowling and occasionally he plays baseball.
Ryan, 14, is from Avon, attends Avon High School and is a member of the Bits & Spurs 4-H Club.
Ryan began working with horses around three years ago when a friend of his grandmother gave him a horse.
“I have really enjoyed working with my horse, meeting new people through 4-H, and of course going to fair,” Ryan said.
When he is not showing his horse, he enjoys playing football, baseball and spending time with his friends.
“I don’t know if I am going to win, but I would like to wish all of the candidates good luck,” Ryan said.
Krieg, 15, is from Amherst, attends Firelands High School and is a member of the Henrietta Country Dreamers 4-H Club.
“I like enjoy showing the animals because it takes up time and I get to meet new people and do different things,” Emily said.
She began showing horses six years ago and will be showing a miniature horse named Moonstruck Zack for the competition.
When asked about why she chose miniature horses in comparison to other animals, Emily said with a laugh.
“My mom doesn’t like animals, so the miniature horses are as big as I am allowed to go,” Emily said.
Brianna, 17, is from Wakeman, attends Firelands High School and is a member of the Henrietta Country Dreamers 4-H Club.
Brianna was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder when she was younger, but she has recently gone off of her medication — which she attributes to working with the horses.
“It is so relaxing to work with the horses, and they actually help me cope with my ADD,” she said.
Brianna loves how cute the miniature horses are, and she is really hoping to win this year because it might be her last shot at being princess.
“I might not have another chance because I am hopefully going to be a part of military support camp,” she said. Brianna is planning to join the Air Force by this time next year.
Brianna enjoys playing guitar, video games, singing and being with friends when she is not showing her horse Melvin.
Bailey, 15, is from Grafton, attends Keystone High School and is a member of Another 4-H Club.
Bailey just started working with the horses this year and is new to this type of competition.
“I love taking care of the horses and learning new languages,” said Bailey, who will be showing a horse named Melody on Monday.
Bailey said that she was drawn to the miniature horses because her sister had worked with them in the past and it seemed like fun.
“My mom used to show horses and was queen at one point,” Bailey said.
Erika, 17, is from Amherst, attends Firelands High School and is a member of the Bits & Spurs 4-H Club.
Erika said that her ability to ride regular-sized horses came to a close when she suffered a severe arm and back injury six years ago.
“I still wanted to work with horses,” said Erika, explaining her switch to working with miniature horses. “I love being able to work with them and doing things others can’t.”
Erika said she loves working with the horses and meeting new people. When asked why she enjoyed being with horses so much she replied with the simple answer, “Why wouldn’t I?”
She recently took Grand Champion at the Ohio State Fair for her public speaking demonstration and looks forward to the public speaking section of the competition.
Emily, 15, is from Elyria, is going to be a sophomore at Elyria High School and is a member of Another 4-H Club.
“Everyone wants to win, and we all have been waiting and looking forward to the results on Monday,” Emily said.
She began working with miniature horses five years ago when she adopted a rescue horse named Florence whose owner was too ill to take care of her anymore.
“We still send pictures of Florence to the original owner to keep her updated on how Florence is doing,” Emily said.
The public speaking and showmanship sections of the competition were her strengths, but during the interview Emily admitted she was a little nervous.
“The best part is seeing where we can go as a team, it’s all about taking it to the next level,” she said.
Emily loves working with horses, which she has done all her life. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and reading.
Jordan, 15, from Elyria, attends Keystone High School and is a member of the Amherst Critters and Such 4-H Club.
“I’ve always loved horses, so I started showing miniature horses in 2007,” she said. “I am with them almost every day.”
Jordan has won a Grand Championship in the past, and is hoping to win this year’s princess miniature horse competition on Monday.
“I would have to say I am strongest in the showmanship … because we can perform the patterns well,” she said, referring to the fact that she and her horse Sis are a good team.
In her spare time, when she is not taking care of her horse, Jordan likes to bowl and is in the marching band at her school.
“I just love the fact that they are so surprising, you never know what to expect; there’s always something new,” Jordan said.
Ally, 15, is from North Ridgeville, attends North Ridgeville High School and is a member of Another 4-H Club.
“I think it’s interesting to have an animal trust you so much, and do anything that you tell it, if the bond is strong enough,” Ally said.
Ally has been working with miniature horses since she was 8 and sees that duration as an advantage in the competition.
The owner of a barn she had been riding at asked her if she wanted to play with some miniature horses and she has not left them alone ever since. Because she has been working with the animals for so long, it is almost as if she is a walking fact book.
“When I was younger I had a mentor that taught me everything there is to know about horses, and I think I could be one, too,” she said.
Ally loves riding horses, spending time with her friends and reading in her spare time.
Kelly, 16, of Avon, attends Avon High School and is a member of the Blazin’ Saddles 4-H Club.
She has participated in the 4-H Mini Horse project for six years and this year is showing a gelding named Mini Hoofs Lightning Warrior.
Kelly started working with horses when she was 10 years old and currently owns four miniature horses and one full-grown saddle horse.
“They were so cute when I saw them at the fair, and I just had to ask my mom for one,” Kelly said.
She is a member of the Helping Hands Program, where she helps special-needs children learn and play with miniature horses.
“What I like most about the program is you’re giving someone a chance to do something that they never could do on their own,” Kelly said.
New to competition, Kelly’s youngest horse, Lightning, has proven to be a challenge in the showmanship portion of the competition.
“I am taking a chance on showing my youngest horse … but I really wanted the challenge, and to see what we could do together,” Kelly said.
In her spare time, Kelly enjoys spending time with her friends, which she wishes she could do more of because of her split time between the horses, her family and her two jobs.
Autumn, 14, of Litchfield, attends Keystone High School and is a member of Another 4-H Club.
Autumn has been working with horses for close to seven years, and had her own horse when she was 9.
“I have always loved horses, my parents say from the time I was born … I love trying to teach them new things,”she said.
Autumn said she still has some room to grow, and if she did not win this year, then she would look forward to the next year’s competition.
Swimming, reading and spending time with her family, are activities you can expect Autumn to participat in when she is not around her horse, a gelding named O’Solo Male Farms Autumn’s Spirit.
“I am an easy-going person that loves to be outside and I have a passion for animals, especially horses. I would also like to wish all the contestants good luck,” she said.
Autumn is a volunteer at Another Chance Equine Rescue and plans to have a career in horses.
Contact Martin Bielatat 329-7155 or email@example.com.