COLUMBIA — The Jack Knife Hollow Hick Chicks youth drill team rides with one motto: All horses are valued and can do anything when given time.
The horses that this drill team works with are not black stallions, they do not have shiny coats, but they do have a second chance.
The horses the drill team rides have been rescued from harsh living conditions and neglect. Some were left starving, some were badly battered and bruised. According to the Missouri Equine Council's Web site the girls' goal is to “promote and foster love of all breeds of horses and show others that you don’t have to have a terribly expensive horse to have a well-trained, versatile, good horse.”
The youth drill team consists of 12 girls, ranging in age from 11 to 18, and their horses. All of the girls on the team are from eastern Missouri, and some make 150-mile round trips to perform and practice.
At the 2009 Horse Celebration, located at the Boone County Fairgrounds on Saturday, the drill team demonstrated their horses' skills. The event began with a warm-up, in which the girls walked their horses around the arena. Simultaneously, the girls placed a bit into each horse's mouth and mounted the horses effortlessly. As directed by their coach, the girls mounted their horses and trotted them around the arena.
Then the team began their drills. Gracefully the horses rode in an organized fashion around the arena, then dividing and riding in a circle, and running in between each other as they crossed the arena, the audience applauding every move.
“It’s the best thing I have seen all day,” said Sheri Wilson, a first-time visitor to the Horse Celebration.
Jenny Yoder, 14, has been riding horses since she was 5 . In March, she got her horse that is now part of the team.
“His name is Boo. We got him, and the owner said that he couldn’t do anything," Jenny said. “He wouldn’t even make a right turn.”
Boo was not necessarily neglected. However, his previous owners did not have the faith in him that Jenny has. Once Jenny and Boo started training in April, they were ready in October for performances.
“It is my favorite thing to do,” Jenny said.
As the show ended, the riders and the horses exited the arena to prepare for their next performance.
Wilson said, "It shows you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on a horse to do something like this."