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Danae Friesen, 17, of the Midway Mountain Movers 4-H Club (left), stands with judge Laura Gradert (right) and Friesen’s 2-year-old filly, Cheyenne, before competition begins Wednesday at the Cottonwood County Fair in Windom. Erin Trester/Daily Globe

Competing for the blue ribbon

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WINDOM — The 4-H horse show kicked off the events at the Cottonwood County Fair on Wednesday. Members of the Midway Mountain Movers and Windom Workers/Dale Diggers 4-H club unloaded their horses and competed in various events throughout the morning and afternoon. 

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Judging the competition was Laura Gradert, who has more than 20 years of experience and has judged horse shows throughout Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota.

The morning’s first event was the halter competition, a type of horse show class in which horses are shown in-hand, meaning that they are led and not ridden.

Danae Friesen, 17, a member of the Midway Mountain Movers, showed her 2-year-old horse, Cheyenne, in the 2-year-old halter stock competition. Horses are a passion for the teen.

“We first got horses in 2006, and it was quite interesting because we never owned horses before,” Friesen said. “My first horse was a 2-year-old Arabian that had never been touched, so we were off to a rocky start.”

Once Friesen sold her first horse and purchased Cheyenne, she began showing in 2009 with both her own and her sister’s horses.

“My sister shows as well, and today I’ll be using her horse in another event,” Friesen said.

Friesen competes in Western pleasure and most of the game events.

Jamie Symens, 19, who currently attends the University of Minnesota but is from Heron Lake, is competing in her fifth and last year of 4-H.

Symens and her 2-year-old gelding Golden Boy competed in the 2-year-old halter competition.

“I’ll be also competing in Western showmanship at halter, Western pleasure, horsemanship and the game events. Basically everything except English,” Symens said with a laugh.

During the judging part of the halter competition, Gradert explained to the audience that she judges horses based on how they move, if they stand square, how their weight is distributed and overall grooming look.

Next up was the 6-year-old and older stock type halter competition in which Kendra Hansen of the Windom Workers/Dale Diggers 4-H club took grand champion with her gelding paint, Sunny.

It was all smiles outside the arena when Hansen, who said she’s been around horses her entire life, took grand champion.

The horse show continued throughout the morning and afternoon with Western pleasure, trail, barrel racing, jumping figure eight, key race, pole weaving and flag race competitions.

The Cottonwood County Fair continues through Sunday with many other 4-H events as well other activities at the fairgrounds in Windom.

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Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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