With no room in the manger for the 4-H horses in the Ventura County Fair, young riders competed this weekend in a three-day horse show that has become the warm-up for the annual fair.
A month before the opening of the Aug. 19-30 event, more than 80 4-H members saddled up horses they have reared as part of a livestock project staged each year for the county fair.
Members of the youth group, which offers instruction in agriculture and home economics, are judged on grooming and showmanship. They are judged on how they control their animals during riding competitions and how tidy they keep the fairground stalls.
And they have to perform these tasks while wearing the traditional 4-H uniform, which is white from head to toe.
The 4-H members in 10 clubs from Agoura to Ojai took part in the weekend horse show, which has been a precursor to the fair's livestock show for at least 30 years. Most of the students also show sheep, swine and cattle during the fair, Janikowski said.
In addition, because there are so many other horse competitions at the fair, there is no room for the 4-H horses.