Dougherty County -- Horses and handlers trot into town to show off their best stuff. The Dougherty County Saddle Club hosts an open horse show at the show grounds off Lonesome Road.
Young people say they learn from riding and dealing with horses.
Haltering, performing, and jumping. Those are among the categories the riders competed in. Twelve year-old Brooks Anne Mitchell and her horse Cappuccino went home with a 3rd and 6th place ribbon. A winning tradition Brooks carries forward from hearing her mother's stories.
"She's always talking about how her horse Tinky used to be really wild, and how she used to ride him, and so I want to be as good as she was some day," said Brooks Anne Mitchell.
"I used to get all my ribbons every Sunday after horse shows, and climb up in the bed with them," said Anne Mitchell.
Mother Anne says riding will teach her daughter the life lessons she needs to be that good. Parents and coaches say young riders learn characteristics that shape them in the future. Characteristics like discipline, responsibility, and respect for horses and other living creatures.
That's part of the reason why Erin McDonald wants her son Gavin to start riding now.
"This is his first show. He's 22 months old, and we're starting out in lead line this year," said Erin McDonald.
As a rider and instructor herself, Erin says people learn lessons like caring for others.
"It teaches him a lot of responsibility. He's got to learn to take care of the horse, and keep up with him. Keep him clean, feed him everyday," said McDonald.
Parents like Anne Mitchell say the partnership between human and horse can help young riders learn how to achieve other success in life too.
"Confidence in herself and what she can accomplish," said Anne Mitchell.
Goals many young riders are able to achieve with teamwork and communication with their horse.
The event was open to all riders. Saddle Club members participated were going for points toward their big end-of-the-year awards ceremony where riders take home prizes, and other awards.