By Carol McIntire
Lizzie McNutt and Kara Bowers are proof that a love of horses flows through a family.
The two girls are following in the footsteps of their mothers, Carrie McNutt and Amy Bowers, and pursuing their passion for horses in the show ring.
Carrie and Amy both spent their youth involved in the horse world, showing horses on local and regional circuits.
They hoped one day when had children of their own, they would have that same passion for horses. Their hope became a reality.
Lizzie, now age 15, started showing horses at the age of 9 on a Quarter Horse named “Lexi”, aka Investin in Sweetie. Kara started showing with Lizzie when she was two years old in the leadline class. Today, at age 9, she is a seasoned veteran of the show ring.
Kara competes at a high level on Lexi. In May she competed at the All American Youth Show in Columbus. The annual event attracts about 1,000 entries from all over Ohio and surrounding states. Exhibitors have come from as far away as Minnesota, Georgia, South Dakota and New York to compete in the event.
Kara won the walk/trot (W/T) Hunter Showmanship class (exhibitors 9 years and under) and earned the right to compete in the championship class, which she won.
She also won the W/T Hunter Under Saddle pony class and placed third in the championship class (exhibitors 9 and under) and won the W/T Hunter Equitation pony class and placed fourth in the championship class (exhibitors 9 years and under).
Lizzie, who competes on a Quarter Horse she calls “Paisley”, aka PSU Dynamic in Time, also competed at the All American Youth Show. She won the Registered Quarter Horse Under Saddle class (exhibitors 14 years old) and placed fourth in the championship class. Lizzie also competed in the Ohio State Fair 4-H Horse Show in 2016 and placed in the top 10 in several classes.
Lizzie is venturing in the Quarter Horse show circuit. She recently competed in her first AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) show and earned points in the Hunter Under Saddle class.
The girls show under the guidance of Barb Foster of Dalton, owner of HyView Stables.
When they are not in the show ring or practicing for their next show, the girls are involved in the Carroll County 4-H program.
Lizzie is a member of the Freedom Riders 4-H Club, where she takes market hogs and market chicken projects as well as a horse project.
Now that she and Paisley know one another better and are working as a team, Lizzie plans to participate in the state fair qualifying show for Carroll County next week in hopes of qualfying for the show in Hunter Under Saddle, showmanship and equitation.
Kara has been a member of the 4-H Cloverbud program for the past three years, two of which were with the Freedom Riders and one with Farm Raisers 4-H Club. She plans to become a full-fledged 4-H member next year, planning to compete in the carting class with a miniature horse and exhibit a goat and chickens.
Both Carrie and Amy were involved in the 4-H program as advisors.
“Showing horses teaches a lot of tough life lessons,” said Amy. “They learn to win and lose graciously as well as being able to adapt to new situations at the drop of a hat. Sometimes the horse will do exactly what you ask and sometimes they will do the complete opposite! You must be very consistent and firm and learn to work together as a team,” she said.
“The girls learn to set goals and know that in order to succeed, they will have to work hard, even when they don’t feel like it. They learn to become patient, confident and compassionate riders,” she added.
For the two families, showing horses has added another definition of the word family to their lives.
“We always enjoy spending time with our family and fellow horse show friends, who have become like family over the years,” she said.
“We want to thank their grandparents, George and Connie Thompson, for making all their dreams come true. They look forward to each show as they are able to watch their grandchildren achieve their goals,” said Amy and Carrie.