Quarta-feira’, 19/9/2018 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

In the Life of Grace Vail

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It can be shocking to find out, just by asking a few simple questions, that strangers may be incredibly interesting. High school students spend a lot of time sitting next to people they know practically nothing about.

The girl I sit next to in my second block Marketing class is a really intriguing because of her captivating hobby; something I had no idea about. Grace Vail spends her time doing something that most people have no experience in. Grace Vail shows horses on her free time, including over the summer.

“I show draft horses, which not a very common thing that others are interested in,” Vail said.

Draft horses are often found pulling heavy loads around, especially on the farm. Photo by Bibhash Banerjee from Pexels

A horse show is a judged exhibition of horses and ponies. Many different horse breeds and equestrian disciplines hold competitions worldwide, from local to the international level. Draft horses are approximated to 68 inches to the withers of the horse. The average height for horse breeds is 15.0 hands or 60 inches.

For the life of a teenager, it is quite unique that such a student spends her time showing such majestic creatures. Showing draft horse in itself unique because that particular breed of horse is usually used more for farm work and pulling.

Most horse shows run from one to three days, sometimes longer for major, all-breed events or national and international championships in a given discipline or breed.

“It’s a really difficult thing to learn, to be able to perform the tasks the way they are meant to be executed, and other people don’t really want to spend their time doing that,”  Vail said.

Most shows consist of a series of different performances, called classes, wherein a group of horses with similar training or characteristics compete against one another for awards and often prize money.

In North America, though a small number of draft horses are also shown under saddle, the term “Draft horse showing” refers to a specific horse show competition that primarily features driving exhibitors presenting their horses to be judged in harness.

“So I don’t ride horses when I show them, I make them trot and the judges watch closely to make sure they are walking in a straight line,” Vail said.

The morning of a show, horses are completely groomed, sometimes using a vacuum to remove any dust that has settled into the horses’ coats since their last bath. Next, most breeds have their hooves painted black, usually with hoof black or a glossy black spray paint. Exceptions to this are the Clydesdale and Shire breeds, which commonly have white hooves, linked to the white leg markings preferable for their breed. For these breeds, it is necessary to powder their white feathers with baby powder or a similar substance.
“You also have to learn how to decorate them, like learning how to braid their hair in specific ways,” Vail said.
While the hooves are drying, the mane is rolled and tails are braided up in a specific way. At this point, the horses are harnessed and then sprayed with fly spray to prevent movement in the show ring. Harnesses are wiped down again to remove any dust that has settled on them, and the horses are hitched to the cart or wagon to the next location.

For Grace Vail, this is part of her everyday life but to others, it is a not something that the average high schooler is part of. By simply asking what sets her apart from the rest of the student body I caught a glimpse into her life and maybe a hint of friendship.


Destiny Peterson
About

I am a senior at Gull Lake High School. This is my first and unfortunately last year in Newspaper. This will be my second year in the Performing Arts Company and will run Track and Field for a third year. I plan to go to college for a writing career and am really excited to get started.

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