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if she had ever been injured while working with horses, she chuckled and confessed, “Oh yeah, about four years ago, but that was Jenny’s fault. I had a new horse, and Jen rode up on her horse from behind us real quick and spooked my horse. He threw me off and I cracked a rib and punctured a lung. We don’t have that horse anymore. That was the worst I’ve ever been hurt.” Not long after the arrival of that first pony, the other sisters followed Deb’s trail and wanted horses of their own. As kids, they enjoyed many of the horse events offered through 4-H and participated in show competitions. Deb and Jen’s children continued the family tradition. While Michelle’s three kids, McKenzie, Derrik and Garrett, were heavily into athletics instead of 4-H, she always had at least one horse in the stable. Once her team grew up and moved on in their lives, she was able to jump back in the saddle for training and competing. Michelle and Jen go to about three competitions per year. These are usually held on weekends, and require some travelling to other states. Both sisters are blessed with supportive families and encouraging spouses. After talking to Michelle, I requested a visit to snap a couple of pictures of her carriage and Jake, and when Michelle invited me to go for an unexpected ride, I was delighted. I was surprised to learn that carriages had special vinyl covers, customized to fit them, just like barbeque grills and air conditioners. Michelle revealed that if she were to start carriage driving over again, she’d probably get a smaller horse, because the larger the horse, the larger the carriage needs to be. Carriages and equipment get pretty heavy as they go up in size. Michelle actually had to have Jake’s carriage and some of his tack custom made. While Michelle was attaching the carriage to Jake from behind, she asked me to keep a hold of him. I was a little nervous, because if this 1,300 pound horse decided to take off, there was nothing I’d be able to do to stop him. Jake was the perfect gentleman and not only stood patiently still, but allowed me to pet his lovely coat. All the while, Big Sam had his head hanging over the stall rail wanting attention, knocking his feed bowl about and tonguing the bridles hanging nearby. As we rode down the driveway, a sudden loud bellow, which sounded like a man roaring, came from behind us. Startled, I exclaimed, “What the heck was that?!” Michelle chortled. “Oh that was just Sam. He gets a little mad whenever he’s left behind.” Jake started out onto the family acreage and I held onto my hat as we cleared some low tree branches. Soon we were off onto asphalt, with Dallas running happily alongside the whole time. I inquired of Michelle if Jake preferred pulling on grass or concrete, but she replied, “I don’t think vHORSES continued on page 19 ecor • Home Dosed Furniture ments • Re-purpul Floral Arrange ng • Beautif Furniture Painti • Custom Now featuring an additional 3,000 sq. ft. of home decor! ita’s R alities rse–o–Nntown Yankton Pu t., Dow S es.com 219 W. 3rd w.ritaspurse-o-naliti 2 • ww 36 605-260-8 HERVOICEvMAY/JUNE 2018v7

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