Horse and Pony Club to hold inaugural ride-a-thon

by Emily Armentrout

The Wabash County 4-H Horse and Pony Club will hold their inaugural ride-a-thon at Crazy Horse Arena on Saturday, April 19 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Amy Lybarger, member of the parent committee for the Horse and Pony Club, spoke with The Paper about what the ride-a-thon will hold and the idea behind this event.

The ride-a-thon “is a fundraiser for the Horse and Pony Club,” explained Lybarger. “We have to be pretty self-sufficient. Our club is one of the largest county clubs, with about 50 to 60 kids. We meet at the fairgrounds and we try to do as many improvements to our little spot of the grounds as we can. These improvements have to come out of our pocket.”

The Horse and Pony Club usually holds fundraisers throughout the year to fund their shows and the trophies and ribbons that the members receive as prizes, but they are hoping that the members can get enough sponsorships that the ride-a-thon alleviates some of that fundraising burden.

The ride-a-thon will be an eight-hour riding event, with different activities for the riders to participate in with their team members. Activities include musical cones, Simon says, an obstacle course and even riding blindfolded. Due to the event being held Easter weekend, Lybarger is even trying to figure out a way to do an Easter egg hunt on horseback.

Each participating club member will be the captain of a team containing at least four people. There must be a team member riding at all times during the ride-a-thon.

“It’s kind of like the old walk-a-thon for March of Dimes, where every mile you walked, you earned money. Well every hour the members ride, they earn money from their sponsors,” said Lybarger.

There will be a half an hour lunch break, but outside of that time, at least one member from the team must be riding at all times. The only other rule is that you cannot ride the same horse all day.

“We’re not going to be on the same horse,” Lybarger told The Paper. “These horses are coming out of hibernation basically, so we don’t want to overwork the horses. The rule is that you will not ride the same horse all doggone day.”

The ride-a-thon will be held at Crazy Horse Arena, Urbana.

“Shane Wilcox is very generous. He supports us one bazillion percent,” said Lybarger. “We will also be taking free will donations. This event is open to the public. We really appreciate the community coming out and supporting us,” added Lybarger.

All Wabash County 4-H Horse and Pony Club members are welcome to participate. They range from third graders to seniors. The club has three seniors this year, Lybarger’s daughter, Abby, being one of them. Abby is the student president of the Horse and Pony Club.

Abby helped organize the ride-a-thon because “she wanted to go out with a bang,” said Lybarger. “Abby wanted to create something that would be sustainable for the kids as a fundraiser. 4-H is supported by the generosity of the people,” added Lybarger.

This year, the Horse and Pony portion of the 4-H fair will take place the last weekend in June due to Independence Day falling on a Friday.

“We always compete on Friday night with our contesting and Saturday with our western show, but this year, with the Fourth of July falling on a Friday night, you cannot be on horseback and rockets red glare going on over your head,” explained Lybarger.

The 4-H Horse and Pony Club’s ultimate goal is to be a staple of 4-H fairs in the future.

“We put up our stalls in the spring and we have to have them down and everything cleaned up before the rabbits and poultry can move into that barn. We would like to be permanent there someday,” said Lybarger.

Posted on 2014 Apr 08