A young horsewoman’s dedicated hard work combined with a “phenomenal” horse make repeat champions.
Mallory Jackson and SLJ Smart Lil Okie, affectionately called JJ, won the highpoint 4-H horseshow award at the Kansas State Fair.
What makes the honor even more impressive is that it was the second consecutive year for the horse-rider team.
“I love showing horses and am fortunate to have such a great horse,” said the 15-year-old Brewster High School sophomore.
“Mallory spends lots of time perfecting her riding skills, and it has paid off,” credited mom Melanie Voss of Colby.
JJ is a 19-year-old sorrel Quarter Horse mare with a proven performance record. “We are a team and work well together,” Mallory appreciated.
Actually only riding five years, Mallory started out with another older sorrel Quarter Horse mare called Piggy. “We really didn’t know much about horses or showing when she began, but we both spent time studying,” Melanie noted.
“I did everything I could on Piggy, learned by losing, but just kept practicing,” Mallory admitted.
Occasionally seeking advice from professional horse trainers, the mother-daughter team learned together. “Mom has provided lots of encouragement and been a great coach,” Mallory appreciated.
Participating in 4-H horse activities, the young horse woman rode at local horseshows in Thomas and surrounding counties.
As her skills improved, Mallory acquired a retired black and white Paint Horse. “Prince was 21-years-old with show experience and we did well together,” she noted.
However, to advance further, Mallory donated Prince to the Colby College Equestrian Team and found JJ. “She was a winning reining horse, and her previous owners actually sought out Mallory for her,” Melanie said.
“JJ is a great horse, but Mallory had to spend time learning how to ride to her mount’s ability. Still, Mallory is truly a natural working with horses,” Melanie emphasized.
With outdoor and indoor riding facilities, Mallory was on horseback while classmates were often in other social activities.
“I really always want to show my horse to her best abilities,” Mallory said.
Obviously, the young horsewoman’s objective has been met and proven with repeat performances at the state fair in Hutchinson
A remarkable achievement the highpoint championship was accomplished competing against a record number of 4-H horseshow entries this year.
Anybody is pleased to win one class but Mallory and her great mount won five. They were first in reining, ranch riding pattern, ranch rail, level IV horsemanship and trail.
Top that, the horse-rider team placed second in both English equitation and horsemanship. They were third in ranch trail, fifth English pleasure, sixth Western pleasure and 10th showmanship.
“The overall championship is determined by the highest point exhibitor in all events,” Melanie noted.
“JJ is truly an all-around horse, and I am very conscientious to ride the patterns with precision,” Mallory said.
Having competed successfully in speed events, the horsewoman most enjoys perfecting her horsemanship skills in performance classes. “Mallory did well in racing competition with a horse she donated to a Garden City therapeutic horsemanship program,” Melanie acknowledged.
In addition, Mallory won the state 4-H horse public speaking contest. She has attained the Level IV Horsemanship designation based on her riding ability, interview and testing.
“Before the state fair, I showed JJ at the American Quarter Horse Junior World Show in Oklahoma City,” Mallory said. “That was a different level and a great experience.” They placed 40th out of 196 entries in the ranch riding class.
Appreciating the work and knowledge necessary to succeed in horse competition, Mallory helps younger horse owners. “I really enjoy assisting 4-H members’ increase their abilities with horses,” she said.
On top of serving her 4-H club, Mallory is treasurer of the Brewster FFA Chapter. “I like to participate in all 4-H and FFA activities and especially enjoy livestock judging,” she said.
Raising two foals out of a mare she owned, Mallory sold them as weanlings. “I learned so much about breeding and producing horses from that experience,” she said.
To expand her personal horse training abilities, Mallory has acquired a prospect from an area breeder. “I intend to train him myself and show in the 4-H pleasure futurities at the state fair,” she said.
Again recognizing her Mom’s assistance with horses, Mallory also credits her older sister. “Miah doesn’t have interests in showing personally but she’s a big help for me getting ready for competition,” Mallory appreciated.
Uncertain about her career, Mallory knows she’ll be lifelong involved with horses. “I am still considering what direction my education will go,” she said. “Horse health is very important to me, so I will probably pursue studies in veterinary science.”
Participation on an equitation team is a strong possibility during her college years.
With her proven abilities, champion horse exhibitor Mallory Jackson insisted, “I definitely want to help others improve their horsemanship skills.”