Andreya Evans sat on her horse, Kaypasa, her teal English daycoat flashing brightly on top of the horse’s dark brown, shiny coat. Kaypasa pawed the ground and shifted his weight, impatient for the event to begin. Andreya rode him out of the arena to get him ready to go into the ring, but she was not nervous as he was.
“I’ve been riding for so long,” she said. “I look at it more as a practice.”
Sunday was the 4-H/FFA Horse Show, in which Andreya, 15, competed. The show was held as a part of pre-fair activities for the 58th annual Boone County Fair. The fair officially kicks off today at the fairgrounds. Gates open at 4 p.m. and admission is $3, children 6 and under free.
Andreya has been riding for eight years and became interested in the hobby after her parents received two older horses from friends.
Andreya’s mother, Debbie Evans, said that riding has helped her daughter in many practical ways, especially now that she is learning to drive. Debbie Evans said that in the ring, “you have to know who’s ahead and who’s behind,” which she said might help her daughter be aware of other cars when she’s driving.
“She’s a defensive rider,” Evans said.
She also said the saddle seat competition her daughter competes in is a harder discipline because the judges are looking for the rider to be in an upright position.
“It’s a good workout,” Evans said.
Andreya also plays lacrosse, and she said that riding is helping her build up her legs for the upcoming season.
“It’s a good off-season sport,” her mother said.
Finally, it was time for Andreya’s competition, where she was the only one in her class. She commanded Kaypasa to trot, walk, canter and back up. She bobbed up and down as the horse performed, pulsing with the rhythm of the horse.
Andreya and Kaypasa trotted by Andreya’s mother, standing on the side of the competition ring. Andreya smiled as her mother coached her.
“Nice and slow ... sit up ... finish with a bang,” Debbie Evans said.
At last, Kaypasa and Andreya were instructed to come to the center of the ring to be awarded the first place trophy and ribbon. After a second competition, saddle seat equitation, in which Andreya was also alone in the ring, she moved on to the trail competition.
Just outside the arena there was an open area set up for trail. Here competitors must lead their horse through a series of obstacles which might come up on a real trail, including crossing a platform, meant to simulate a bridge, opening a gate and working around a mailbox.
Andreya coached Kaypasa through all of the obstacles, even backing up over a wooden pole. After leaving the course, Andreya was congratulated by a few bystanders. Andreya said she has many trophies, but her mother said that she only displays the ones that mean a lot to her. Andreya said that when she is the only person competing, it feels more like another lesson or training class.
Being the only person in the ring also makes a difference for the amount of pressure she feels, Andreya said.
“I put more pressure on myself and on the horse,” she said. “I feel like it’s more one-on-one.”