Bright Lights, Big City – This is Haymanot “Hemi” Kebedes’ first Ford Youth World.
He was wide-eyed when he saw the Jim Norick Arena at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City for the first time on Friday, July 30. Not only was it his first time at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show, it was also his first time at any horse show larger than a county fair.
Haymanot “Hemi” Kebede, 16, can’t believe his luck that he’s competing at the 2010 Ford Youth World.
“It’s a really, really cool experience,” he says. “I’ve never been to something so big. I’m used to going to little state fairs. I’ve never been here before and I’m really excited – I hope we do good.”
Hemi and Mr Be Counted, a 2009 sorrel gelding by Count This Kid Cool and out of Downtown Sunshine by Mr Be Downtown, were finalists in yearling geldings.
Even though he has designs to move into western pleasure and other riding classes, Hemi has a profound respect for the halter horse and sees himself showing halter horses for a long time. He especially likes the conformation and form of the halter horse.
“They have to be really nice horses. I like the muscling of really nice horses. It takes a really special horse to win a class,” he says.
To prepare for his halter class at the Ford Youth World on Saturday, July 31, Hemi banded his gelding, “Sammy,” on Friday night . Knowing that Sammy likes to get dirty, Hemi blanketed him, too. When he arrived at State Fair Park at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Hemi fixed any displaced bands, blackened hooves and brushed off his equine comrade. He had help from his “pit crew” — fellow Texas youth competitors Carey Nowacek and Amanda Brightwell.
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Just because he’s done showing doesn’t mean that Hemi’s in a hurry to get back to his home of Hockley, Texas – he’s staying at the Ford Youth World until Wednesday and looks forward to watching western pleasure and reining, but especially western riding, which he has never seen before.
If he still has Sammy by the end of the year, Hemi would like to have help from a Houston-area horse trainer in starting him, and eventually move into competing in western pleasure and western riding. Sammy is owned by Boys and Girls Country of Houston, Inc., where Hemi lives. Boys and Girls Country is a non-profit charitable home.
Hemi started his show career by showing livestock, more specifically goats. But it’s showing horses that Hemi truly loves. Unlike most Ford Youth World competitors, Hemi was nominated for the show and hopes that the show can be his step towards competing at more AQHA shows.
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