It was at Vivienne Siefker’s fifth birthday party that Addison Coomer fell in love with horses.
Siefker had begun riding horses about a year earlier, and guests at her party had brief riding lessons and were able to spend time riding together.
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Fast forward a few years, and the two are still passionate about horses.
Coomer and Siefker, both 12, had stalls next to each other last week during the Jackson County Fair and showed horses together for the time during the horse showmanship competition.
Coomer showed for the first time last year, and Siefker joined her this year.
Each were brushing their horses in preparation for the event Tuesday evening at Show Arena 2. It was the first time a horse show had been conducted during the fair. In past years, the riding and showmanship were conducted the Saturday before the fair.
Siefker was brushing her horse, Skippa, prior to the horse competition last week.
“Skippa is kind of bossy and gets to be her own way. She’s unique,” she said. “One day, she’s something sweet, and the other, she’s hardheaded, so it just depends, but I love her.”
Coomer was brushing her horse, Robbie.
“I love having an animal to ride, and really, an animal to talk to,” she said, adding she has a close relationship with Robbie where she talks with him. “It’s a unique bond because you can tell your horse anything, and they won’t tell anyone.”
She said Robbie can sense when she is happy or upset.
“They go off what you’re feeling and can make you happy,” she said as she inched closer to him.
Neither of them said they were nervous before the show.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Coomer said.
Those nerves are tamed because each has worked with their horses over the last few months in anticipation of the show.
“I worked on getting his trot down and him to move his front and back end correctly so he can pivot,” Coomer said. “I also have worked on stopping when I tell him to and jumping.Siefker did similar exercises about three times a week leading up to the fair.
“Skippa and I go over what we do out in the arena,” she said.
Both agree showing horses is unique because of the bond that is forged when you ride them.
“It’s cool to actually get to experience everything and ride and work with the horse,” Siefker said. “After awhile, they become your best friends because you’re always spending time with them.”
Her favorite part is simple.
“It’s awesome when you ride,” she said.
Coomer said she feels Robbie understands her and can pick up on her emotions when they spend time together.
His personality shines through when he interacts with people, too, she said.
“He’s really funny and goofy,” Coomer said. “He’s nice to everybody.”
There are a few unpredictable incidents, like when she was bucked off during a recent show in Osgood.
“I was just a little sore, but I was all right,” she said.
Before long, it was time to get both horses ready for the show. The two friends stood side by side in their stalls as they brushed their horses and made last-moment changes.
“We try to get the horses pretty before we go out there,” Siefker said.