Love comes in various forms. There’s companionship, friendship, romantic love and family bonds. Of course, there’s also the love that comes with caring for and nurturing animals. The relationships people form with animals are unique and special. Animal ownership is a sometimes difficult, but always rewarding task. For many, owning an animal allows for better self understanding, and the various experiences one goes through with their animal fuels personal growth and maturation. This was definitely the case for 4-H Member, Holly Brown. Holly is the oldest Member in the Haldimand 4-H Minature Horse Club. Last year, Holly took on a challenging task to set a good example for younger Members and inspire them to challenge themselves in 4-H. Instead of using her well-trained miniature gelding for the Club’s practice horse show, Holly choose to work with her completely untrained two year old filly. Read on to hear Holly’s account of this experience. Enjoy! ___________________________________________________________________________

August 6, 2011 was the day of our annual Haldimand 4-H Miniature Horse Club practice show. This year since I’m the oldest Member in the Club, and have the most experience, I decided to use a different horse as my project horse. The last few years I’ve used our very quiet, well trained miniature gelding. He knows what he’s doing, he does it all and he’s wonderful. I didn’t think it was for myself, the oldest Member with the most experience to use a horse like him, so I decided to use my 2-year-old filly who has never done anything before I bought her and is just learning how to do showmanship. Her attention span is short, she’s young, spirited, and doesn’t like to listen; she has a mind of her own. O no what did I get myself into is what I asked myself after our first training session, But I was determined; I worked with her and her young fiest attitude. There were times, too many times, when I almost went running back to my little well behaved gelding, or I though about picking another horse out of my herd, I do have 12 to pick from, why did I pick her? But for some reason I couldn’t actually bring myself to use a different horse, just thought about it. I had faith in her.

August 6 came too fast; I was worried that we weren’t ready. All these young Members were watching me, looking up to me; they knew that they could learn fro me, what if I made a complete fool of myself? First class was mine, the senior showmanship class; all the young Members were at the sidelines watching. And then something clicked in my little filly and everything I had tried to teach her she actually did learn! She was wonderful, we did our pattern perfectly. Not one mistake, the best I had ever done with any horse. We did it, all my hard work had paid off. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. We received first place and the judge had wonderful comments for me. I’m so proud of my hard work with my feisty filly. The above excerpt was written by Holly Brown. Holly is a senior 4-H Member in the Haldimand Association. She has been in 4-H for seven years and has completed 15 projects. Holly’s project interests are horses and rabbits.