Lucky Horseshoe sends 10 to state fair


TROY — Ten Miami County girls will have the opportunity to showcase their horses at the Ohio State Fair this July.

“It’s awesome. I’m so proud of all of them, it’s fantastic. They work very hard — these girls don’t go out and ride their horse two weeks before fair. These girls work every day, all year round, and that’s why they made it,” Lucky Horseshoe Club leader Kelly Berry said.

The Lucky Horseshoe club began in 2012 with five members led by Jane Hum. Today, the club has grown to 17 members ranging from 10 years of age to 18. The 10 young equestrians competing at state beginning July 19 are first-time state qualifiers Emilee Hensley, Hailee Hensley, Whitley Slaton, Violet Hazard, Hannah Lewis, and returning state qualifiers Sophie Berry, Chloe Berry, Adrianna Shockey, Ashley Andrews and Mackenzie Andrews. Sophie Berry, Adrianna Shockey, and Ashley Andrews are graduated seniors who will be showing at state. The girls consider themselves a family and take pride in helping each other with anything they can.

“It is so cool because I feel like all of us — we all come from different backgrounds. We’ve had all different experiences, different training, different disciplines, but we can all come together and represent Miami County as a club and as a group that’s going to go to state, and I think that’s really cool,” Sophie said.

Mackenzie Andrews wasn’t in Lucky Horseshoe when she competed by herself at the state fair in 2019; she said that she met many of the girls then and was immediately included in the group and invited to hang out with the girls.

“They acted like I was part of their club. I was never left out, and I never felt excluded or anything,” Andrews said.

While the Ohio State Fair is returning after a year of cancellations, the Ohio Expositions Commissions announced on April 8 that the 2021 Ohio State Fair would not be open to the public and instead focus on agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families, and guests. Even so, many of the girls are looking forward to showing in the horse show, which is slated to run from July 19 to 23.

“It’s kind of a relief, because last year we weren’t able to go. It’s exciting, especially for us who have been in this for a long time, and it may be our last year — it’s nice to have another opportunity to go,” Sophie said.

For first-time qualifier Hazard, it was almost more nerve-wracking to qualify for state than it will be to show at state. Qualifying for state requires each girl to qualify in a minimum of two classes, and the judging is on an individual basis in line with a set list of standards. There is a standard given for each class, and participants have to reach a certain point score in order to qualify.

“Once you qualify, you’re like, it’s all smooth sailing from here. After that, it’s just ribbons. What you’re going for is to get there, and once you’ve gotten there, you’ve already achieved something,” Hazard said.

Sophie, who qualified for state in six classes, is excited to be showing at state and showcasing her hard work and effort.

“It’s rewarding. It shows, especially, the horse I’m working with has been able to branch off and be so versatile and I’m really proud of that. It takes a lot of mental effort and physical effort on his part to do this, and I’m grateful for him every day for that,” Sophie said.

“We have a running joke in the club, which is ‘you’re here to win, but you’re not.’ The thing I always tell them about going to state is, you’ve already won,” Kelly said. “There are girls that ride and try their entire lives, and they never make it to state, so go there for the experience, the fun and to learn. Getting there is really the accomplishment.”

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