Nebraska 4-H Profile
By Noel Ochoa, Veterinary Technology Student, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear someone say “horse show”? Many immediately picture huge arenas filled with soft dirt, the odd yet sweet smell of horses and leather, and of course prize money, ribbons and trophies. In the case of Lacey Schardt, though, a day of fun, riding, socialization, and learning is what comes to mind.
Lacey Schardt, from Carleton, Neb., has long been a passionate admirer of horses and a Nebraska 4-H member for 11 years. For the past five years, Schardt has showed and worked with horses after participating in other 4-H areas ranging from work with other livestock to knitting and computers. She is a 2009 graduate of Deshler High School and is currently a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is pursuing a degree in Applied Science. In high school, Schardt participated in high school musicals all four years, One Acts and Speech her senior year, and was Secretary of the National Honor Society her senior year. She was a member of the FBLA.
Schardt mentioned it was her love for horses that got her involved in showing, and that one of the things that helped her get started was when she, her cousins and her siblings were given a gelding to share when they were little. She owned two mares until recently, when her registered Quarter Horse mare of five years passed away at the age of 25. Now, Schardt owns a four year old Paint/Quarter Horse cross mare with potential to be registered.
In past years, Schardt competed in almost every event with her Quarter Horse mare. These events included halter, showmanship, English pleasure, English equitation, western pleasure, western equitation, horsemanship, trail, and barrels, poles. This summer, she will be showing her four-year-old Paint/Quarter horse cross mare, but will only be competing in halter, showmanship, western pleasure and horsemanship, trail, reining and western riding.
Schardt stated that this is the summer she has traveled to horse shows the most. She usually doesn’t travel very far, staying within an hour and a half radius from home. With many new friends and fellow horse lovers from college, she plans on many more trips to shows and competitions.
She does all the training with her horse on her own. The cross mare she has now did receive some professional training before she purchased her last spring, but much of it must be re-taught by Schardt since her last owner didn’t keep up with her training.
While the feeling of winning is what drives many horse lovers to shows, Schardt is motivated by the desire to teach and learn with her horse. She views shows as an opportunity to see where she and her horse need to improve. She said, “Winning a show or competition has never been important to me,” which is honorable, and which you don’t hear many competitors say.
Schardt’s horse showing is more than just a 4-H project. To her, her horse is a great way of relieving stress. “I really love how I am able to get on my horse and forget everything,” she said.
While continuing her work and shows with her horse, Schardt plans on pursuing her goal of earning a Rodeo Queen title and representing a local rodeo. After college, she plans to find a career in the agriculture industry, hoping to someday manage her own farm. She plans to always keep horses as a part of her life and someday use them to help her manage cattle in a cattle operation she hopes to one day have.
From a gelding shared between siblings to the indescribable feeling that takes over one’s body when riding a horse, there are many reasons why horse lovers start and continue their work and lives with horses.
Schardt’s passion for horses has gotten her a long way so far, and with the positive attitude she has for the progress of herself and her horse, only great things can be expected.