Hayden As the mist from Saturday night's rain cleared and the sun rose over the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden, 6-year old 4-H Cloverbud Teah Montieth fastened a riding helmet beneath her chin, and prepared "Buddy" for the Junior Western Pleasure class of the open horse show on Sunday morning.
"It's because of the horses that I love riding," Montieth said. "I love the way they act, so gently and kind."
The Routt C ounty Fair and Rodeo runs through Sunday. On the schedule today: 8-10 a.m. Baled Hay entries accepted at Vo-Ag Building in Oak Creek and the Extension office in Steamboat Springs 1-2 p.m. Baled Hay Contest entries accepted at the Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in Hayden
This is Montieth's first official riding competition, and she said she was plenty nervous.
"I lost my stirrup," she said sadly afterward.
Although she didn't place in the Junior Western Pleasure class, she plans to continue riding "for the rest of her life."
Montieth competed in three classes and was among some 600 entires during Saturday and Sunday's horse shows.
Each class, or specific competition, held about 30 riders and horses, and there were near 60 classes on each day.
Both mornings, the arena shook with the sounds of country music and the pounding hooves of riders warming up their equine companions. Dressed in their finest suede duds, hats and fringed chaps, one class after another filed into the arena to walk, trot, lope, turn and finally line up before judge Ann Morgan, from Colorado Springs. Awards were given for through eighth place in each class.
"We've had some really great competition here," show manager Doug Wheeler said. "And the weather's been perfect. There was just enough rain Saturday night to settle all the dust we'd raised during the day."