For 4-H members, the week of the Warren County Fair is all about head, heart, hands, and health.
Mollie Marsh, 18, from Russell is in her fourth and last year in Scandia Trailblazers 4-H club.
"It's a good time. I definitely learned a lot. We've come a long way, my horse and I. When I first started riding we had control issues and he'd just do random stuff," she said on Friday about her horse Spitfire, a 16-year-old Appaloosa and Paint mix breed. "But he's been an angel this week."
Times Observer photo by Ben Klein
4-H at the fair
In the photo above, Megan Gourley prepares for the livestock auction Friday night at the Warren County Fair.
Marsh said Spitfire just didn't want to listen, but spending time and learning to work with him is part of the process.
"He still has some of the bad habits that he had when I was in ninth grade, but I know how to correct them now. And we've learned a lot of things together," she said.
Earlier this week, Marsh said Spitfire took third place in showmanship and a blue ribbon in master fitter for the fourth year in a row.
Ben Donnell, 12, from Sugar Grove brought his steer, Mr. Jingles, to the fair for his first year first year in 4-H. His sister, Faith Donnell, isn't quite old enough to join, but hopes to be involved in 4-H next year.
Ben and Faith were giving Mr. Jingles a wash Friday afternoon before the livestock sale Friday night. At 1,118 pounds, Mr. Jingles is one of the smaller steers in the sale, but that makes him a little more manageable and easier to maneuver for a first-year 4-H member.
Donnell said he is up at 6:45 a.m. most days, even during the school year.
"I have to refill his water pretty often, I have to feed him twice a day, give him a bath every once in a while," Donnell said while shampooing Mr. Jingles. "I spend a half an hour down there in the morning."
He took third place on show day, Wednesday, and third place in the showmanship and fitting.
Megan and her brother, Dylan Gourley, of Corry were also preparing for the livestock auction Friday night. Megan, who is 12 years old, has had 10 steers and one heifer in the five years since she has joined 4-H. She took second in the showmanship and weight class on Wednesday with a heifer and Dylan took first place with a steer as well.
Both of the Gourleys said they are up early as well, at 6 a.m. to begin the roughly 30-minute routine to feed and water the steers and heifers.
"They do all the feeding even during school, they get up before school and go out," said their mother, Jessica Gourley. "If they need help we do it, but it's their responsibility to do it."
Rebekah Hogg, 13, from Grand Valley is in the Pittsfield Bronc Busters 4-H club and was at the fair with her 13-year-old Foxtrotter/Standard horse named Wildfire. Rebekah, who has only been a 4-H member for two years, said she and Wildfire were born two weeks apart.
"We had the horse at our farm, my mom and his mom were pregnant at the same time. It's pretty cool," she said. "I have three horses and a cow at home, and I have to feed them and water them every morning."
Hogg said she practices running barrels with Wildfire every day and plans to do 4-H until she's 18.
"I really like it, it's fun," she said. "I ride him basically every day, I think, in the summer at least."