Pictured: Jacob Startz and "Bo."

Hackfeld wins many awards, Startz defends champion title

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

Horses, trainers and spectators filled the show barn at the Jim Wells County Fair Friday morning for the annual Junior Horse Show.

Kendra Hackfeld, in her second year showing horses at the fair, found success in a number of events, including reserve grand champion in the gelding division.

A senior at Orange Grove High School, Hackfeld said she was drawn to compete in the fair because of her upbringing.

"I've always wanted to do this," Hackfeld said. "I was raised on a farm."

Hackfeld said she enjoyed every part of caring for and preparing horses to show.

"You just have to groom them a month or so before the show," Hackfeld said. "You don't really have to do anything. It's not like raising a pig. Just regular care."

Hackfeld said she hopes to use the lessons she learned showing horses at the fair later in life.

"I just like horses," Hackfeld said. "I like animals. I plan to be a vet when I graduate."

Jacob Startz, a junior at Alice High School, won grand champion in the gelding division for the second year in a row, with his sorrel quarter horse, "Bo."

Startz, who has been showing steers and horses in the fair since the eighth grade, said Bo's size set him apart from the other horses in the competition.

"His size and muscle mass," Startz said. "He's almost 17-hands, and he's stocky."

Startz said he always enjoys the fair, and he was especially proud of defending his grand champion title.

"I've been around horses forever, and I love them," Startz said. "I'm a competitive person, so I love the competitiveness."

In addition to feeding Bo twice a day, grooming him once a week and taking him out for regular exercise, Startz said an important key to success at the fair is discipline in the arena.

"You always want to have their feet squared up and equal, you always want to keep his head up," Startz said. "And wherever the judge goes, you want to keep away from her, because she wants to see the horse, not you."