BUCYRUS — Cecelia Chase began riding horses when she was a toddler.
On Thursday, the 10-year-old breezed through the ranch pleasures part of contest day in the horse arena at the Crawford County Fair.
Cecelia’s 12-year-old sister, Olivia, has been riding since she was little girl, too.
“It takes about three years to bond with your horse,” she said.
The girls’ father, Mike Chase, said Olivia has been frustrated with her horse this year.
“She has only had this horse a short time, and it takes a while for the horse to get used to you and for you to get used to the horse,” said Mike.
Each of Mike’s three daughters have horses.
“It can get expensive. Right now, a bale of hay is $4 to $7 and we have five horses. That’s about 400 bales of hay per year,” said Mike.
Mike said other costs include horse trailers and saddles and tackle. But there are more.
Olivia said purchasing a horse can cost $500 to $10,000.
“It depends on the bloodline of the horse and how much training it has,” Olivia said.
Olivia said the horse skillathon competition at the fair helped her gain a lot of knowledge.
Mike said the knowledge and skills his daughters have gained from taking care of their horses and participating in 4-H is immeasurable.
“They’ve learned patience, responsibility, organizational skills and how to properly care for an animal,” he said.
Riley Erwin agreed. She has been riding horses so long she can’t remember her first time atop one.
“I have learned so much over the years,” said Riley, 18, and a college student.
Erwin spent more than a decade in the Young Riders 4-H Club and now gives riding lessons to younger club members, like 9-year-old Carley Zender.
Show day was a first for Carley since this is her first year in 4-H.
“I have been riding for about three years, though,” Carley said.
Carley’s dad, Cory, said his daughter was adamant that she wanted a horse for several years.
“Riley has done a great job teaching her how to ride,” he said.
Chloe Carman, 16, of Galion, starting riding in the second grade.
“I took a little break then got back into it when I was in fourth grade,” Chloe said.
Chloe’s dad, Greg Carman, said Chloe’s mom grew up with horses, and passed that attraction on to Chloe.
Greg said his daughter’s participation in 4-H, and with horses, has taught her skills and responsibility.
“Horses are a lot of hard work, but definitely worth it,” he said.
Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras