2007-07-14 / Top News

Clinic Brings Horses, Kids Together

By Eric Fish

From left, Emily St. Onge and Burton Gough receive tips for getting high marks at horse shows from Steve Young Monday, July 9. Mr. Young has been a horse show judge for about 10 years and is licensed in several states besides Michigan. From left, Emily St. Onge and Burton Gough receive tips for getting high marks at horse shows from Steve Young Monday, July 9. Mr. Young has been a horse show judge for about 10 years and is licensed in several states besides Michigan. On Monday, July 9 and Tuesday, July 10, Steve Young and Moira Martinchek conducted a special horse preparatory clinic for children as part of an event sponsored by the 4-H Club and Mackinac Horsemen's Association.

Mr. Young and Ms. Martinchek are Charlevoix based horse show judges that teamed up about two years ago to judge shows and teach clinics.

"They're kid people," said Leanne Brodeur, the 4-H leader and director of the Mackinac Horsemen's Association. "They love kids and they love teaching."

Ms. Martinchek has been judging for 35 years and is licensed to judge in almost 10 states, with six others pending in the six New England states. She also judged several of the past Mackinac Island Horse Shows, the Iowa State Fair Horse Show, and various shows in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jessica Beaune takes her horse through the barrel race as part of the two-day Horse Show Prep Clinic hosted by Steve Young and Moira Martinchek of Charlevoix. The pair instructed children on various areas on which they would be judged in a horse show. Jessica Beaune takes her horse through the barrel race as part of the two-day Horse Show Prep Clinic hosted by Steve Young and Moira Martinchek of Charlevoix. The pair instructed children on various areas on which they would be judged in a horse show. Mr. Young has been judging for about 10 years, after working as a trainer.

Each year, they have to take exams, attend seminars, and be evaluated to retain their licensing rights in each state.

"If your evaluations aren't up to par, you will lose your license," Mr. Young said.

But for two days at the Mary Milton Memorial Horse Ring at Great Turtle Park, Mr. Young and Ms. Martinchek left their licenses at home and, instead, showed 4-H riders and other children the necessary techniques to score well in a horse show.

The duo instructed dozens of children in proper walking, trotting, and running courses with their horses, talents expected in an actual horse show.

"When you can explain to them what they're doing in the form-to-function of it all, a light bulb will go off in their head." Ms. Martinchek said.

Besides critiquing the children and correcting their posture, the instructors are available throughout the season to answer questions and speak to the children following an event, whether it be a competition or clinic.

"It's very rewarding," Mr. Young said of the clinics. "It's like watching your baby walk for the first time. And you know that it is you that has helped bring that person to where they are. It's a good, satisfying feeling inside."

He has fond memories of working on the Island in his youth.

"It's nice to be able to come back and give back to a place that gave so much to you," he said. "This was a place that really did give a lot to me as a kid."

Ms. Martinchek has been impressed by the friendliness of the people since she began coming here for the clinic and to judge shows two years ago.

"The people are up here to have fun," Ms. Martinchek said. "You don't have all the politics and bickering that you have at the bigger breed shows, and it's just a lot of fun. The one thing I've noticed is the sportsmanship and the camaraderie. Everybody helps everybody and everybody cheers for everybody and they don't get into a snit if they get beaten by one of their friends. That's a nice, refreshing thing to see."

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