She was so busy; she didn’t even have time to ride her horse Saturday.
On the forefront, one might wonder: “How in the world could a lifelong, heartfelt cowgirl not arrange just a brief mounted gallop on her favorite mount?”
Answer’s most apparent upon finally arranging a quick cellphone visit with the cowgirl as she left the farm home for a dozen obligations in one of the even busier days of her always most eventful lifestyle, which in itself is mindboggling.
“I grew up on a family farm, and my biggest dream came true when my Grandma bought me a brown and white Miniature Horse called Cody. He wasn’t very big, but I didn’t care. Cody was a horse to me, and that’s all I’d ever wanted. He was my best friend,” reflected Megan Poole of Alta Vista.
“I’ve had several horses since Cody, and my bay mare Seeker today is dear to my heart. I’ll always love horses and be involved with horses,” assured the Morris County cowgirl, although likely most who know her have little inkling of her horse affection and vast equitation skills.
Actually, the past week had been jam packed in the senior’s final days before Sunday afternoon when she graduated as Salutatorian in the Class of 2015, from Council Grove High School.
Highlight to that point must have been Class Day festivities Wednesday where the always toothy-smiled, some could rightfully call glamorous, still a high school girl was called forward seemingly uncountable times for recognitions and award stipends to further her career, of course with service to the equine industry as part of it.
No effort to list all of the much applauded honors bestowed, suffice to know there were many, likely record count, far and most diverse in acknowledgement. “My scholastics have always been extremely important to me, and fortunately with all of my activities, I’ve been able to maintain my grade point,” Poole, 18, commented.
Notwithstanding horses and scholarship keeping her busy enough for most; Poole has been the star of her championship basketball team, earning a full-ride junior college scholarship.
She’s been active in a handful of school organizations, including serving in numerous leadership roles for her FFA chapter, and the Dwight Sunflowers 4-H Club, when many others her age have dropped 4-H involvement, and of course National Honor Society, to name only a few. Poole was named to the Kansas Honors Program for her overall outstanding achievement.
But, perhaps as importantly, the ambitious cowgirl-scholar-ballplayer-leader has continued to work several remunerating employments, including Council Grove Aquatic Center lifeguard, which she sadly admitted on occasion, was forced to take precedence over her summer horseshow participation.
Most humble, yet most appreciative of her vast accolades, the smiling-cowgirl emphasized, “None of this would be possible or would have been conceivable without my parents, John and Michelle Poole, and my little sister Morgan, who’s a freshman.
“My sister Morgan is my best friend. We have like interests to a point, and she’s so helpful with my work at the farm when I’m gone, and especially taking care of and exercising my horse when I just can’t be there.
“Morgan will even have more responsibility at the farm when I go off to college this summer, and I’ll depend on her to have my horse ready when I come home and want to go to the horse show or rodeo,” Poole admitted.
“My Australian Shepherd, Daisy, is my very close companion, and has been for the past five years. I got her as a puppy, and have also had Daisy as my dog project at the Morris County Fair. The separation when I’m in college will get to both of us,” Poole admitted.
When Poole turned eight, she joined 4-H. “I didn’t really have any idea what it would be like, but I had a horse and lived on a farm, so it was what I wanted to do. My 4-H involvement has been key in overcoming my shyness, meeting so many people, and doing so many things. I wouldn’t take anything for the experiences I’ve had in 4-H,” Poole said.
First year 4-H work featured of course her Miniature Horse, and then also a palomino Shetland pony mare called Dolly, and cooking foods projects. “I started out slow, but it’s picked up through the years. I just showed my ‘little’ horses in halter and showmanship in the beginning, but I didn’t care, I had a ‘horse’ at the fair,” Poole related.
It might have seemed the farm girl had a horse shank in one hand and a basketball in the other. “I really have always liked basketball, too, always practiced a lot, and started playing on summer teams in the third grade, and ever since. My Dad and Mom have been very instrumental in coaching,” the now-basketball-star-too reflected.
Quickly outgrowing the “little horses,” Poole finally was able to convince her parents to get a “big horse.” She remembered: “Classy is a sorrel Quarter Horse mare, and I had to share her with my sister. That was fine, except when we both wanted to ride at the same time. It took negotiating sometimes to get me to give in for Morgan’s turn.”
From time to time, the sisters were in different age groups, so that eliminated some conflicts when they started competing in Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association shows, even though the Poole girls still shared their horse in some 4-H sanctioned events.
Finally, Megan Poole got a big horse of her own. “Seeker is ‘my horse,’ a bay Quarter Horse mare, already 16 now. I use her as an all-around horse, in every event sometimes. Seeker will actually do it all, if I do my part, and ride her right,” claimed Poole, who with her speedy mount collects many weekend show awards tallying for yearend prize hardware. They also compete in the Kansas Barrel Racing Association.
After graduating from Prairie Heights Middle School, Poole started high school. “Of course, I continued in 4-H, played basketball and went out for track, but my grades were always most important,” she said.
“Ever since I’ve been in the third grade I’ve known I wanted to be a veterinarian, and because of my 4-H experiences, and love for horses and ranch life, I enrolled in vocational agriculture and joined FFA, which has really been a great experience,” Poole continued.
“Time was flying by so fast, I sometimes wondered if I could keep up. But, I sure didn’t want to miss out on any of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities,” she insisted.
Still, basketball required considerable time keeping physically-fit, in part as a champion cross country runner, practicing, perfecting skills and playing, especially considering all of the games Poole participated in annually; summer leagues, high school and all-star tournaments throughout the Midwest.
At six-foot-one, Poole started on junior varsity as a freshman, suited up for A-team, and then began varsity substituting regularly as a sophomore.
Two-year-starter for the Council Grove Braves Girls Basketball Team, Megan Poole was leading scorer this year, for the two-time league champions, and personal recognition as league first team center.
As a junior, Poole lead her team to win a sub-state title, barely missing a state championship, followed by suffering a heartbreaking sub-state loss this past season.
However, Poole was selected to play in no less than a handful of all-star games. “I’m proud of every one of them, but the team selection that was my personal favorite was the opportunity to participate in the Flint Hills All Star Game, with selection based not only on playing ability, but also character and scholastics, what really determine our future more than anything,” she said.
With such an enviable basketball record, no surprise Poole had scholarship offers from a dozen colleges.
“My hard work was paying off, but the most difficult decision of my life was deciding where to continue my education. Playing basketball is important, but I’m going to be veterinarian, so I had to select a college that offered courses to qualify and transfer for me to get into vet school,” she insisted.
Thus, decision was made to play basketball, and study at Pratt Community College. “They presented me with ample basketball and academic scholarships, and importantly have a pre-veterinary medicine curriculum. It seems to be the perfect opportunity for my future, and was a big weight off my shoulders when I decided to enroll at Pratt,” Poole said.
Serving leadership roles in her 4-H club, the County 4-H Council, and her FFA chapter, Poole served as both 4-H and FFA reporter, with her byline readily recognized in several publications’ commentary. She’s been president of several of the organizations.
“I’ve been so privileged to be involved in both 4-H and FFA, and the outings to Washington, D.C., Kentucky and Indiana were chances of a lifetime creating memories I’ll always cherish,” Poole credited.
Consequently, four notable awards received by Poole must be credited specifically to all of that hard work in those groups. These include the Gordon Morrison FFA Scholarship, the Morris County 4-H Foundation Scholarship, a Morris County Youth Rodeo Association Scholarship, and the Don and Lucile McNeal Journalism Kiwanis Scholarship, for reporting skills, accompanied by scholastic and athletic abilities.
“I truly appreciate all of the generous support that everybody has provided. Since I tentatively will be attending eight years of schooling beyond this year’s graduation, my goal is to be as much debt free as possible,” Poole commented.
Furthering this effort, reiterating her work ethic, Poole has served internships during high school at Bachura Family Automotive, the Morris County Extension Office and Jernigan’s Veterinary Clinic.
Again, vast participation and leadership roles would require paper reams, therefore not recorded here.
Poole’s bay mare won’t be going to college with her, but she intends to be mounted every time back home, and to continue summer horse show and rodeo participation. “I’ll depend on Morgan to have Seeker in shape and ready to ride,” she said.
Depending on scholarship offers, Poole would like to continue playing basketball following her Pratt career, but the future will tell. “I eventually intend to study veterinary medicine at either Kansas State University or Oklahoma State University; we’ll have to see when that time comes,” she said.
“It is my passion to assist any way possible to an animal in bad condition. To start out after college, I would like to work at an intensive care emergency unit in an animal hospital. Furthering my education, I’m going to take a year of training and acquire my license as a certified equine chiropractor,” Poole said.
“I’m so excited about everything that I’ve done in my life and even more excited about what the future holds. Certainly, whatever that is, I’ll always be involved with horses and would predict my family will as well,” the cowgirl-scholar-ballplayer-leader, future-veterinarian predicted.
“Again, I want to thank my family and friends, my teachers, my coaches, and sponsors for all of their help in making this all possible, and now also to those who’ve provided generous funding for the education scholarships I’ve been privileged to receive. I promise to continue to work very hard,” Megan Poole concluded.