MORRISON – Ben, a "gentle giant" of a horse, was among the stars Monday at the first day of the Whiteside County 4-H fair.
Karlie Sandrock, 18, of Prophetstown, a member of the Leon Stickers 4-H Club, showed Ben, a 12-year-old Percheron draft horse who weighs about 2,100 pounds.
It's Karlie's last year showing horses – she's getting ready to head off to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she will study studio acting and music.
Karlie's more of a cattle person, which she will be showing today, but she says she also enjoys showing horses – they tend to listen better than cattle do.
Burdette and Dea Sandrock, Karlie’s grandparents, own a farm in Prophetstown where they have six draft horses, including Ben.
Getting Ben ready for the show required a power wash and braiding his tail. The Sandrocks don't ride their draft horses, they usually drive them, attaching them to a show wagon or cart. In the winter they enjoy bobsledding with their giant friends at the helm.
It's pretty easy showing Ben – Percherons are smart and easily retain what they are taught. They also follow voice commands well, Karlie said.
Karlie's ending on a high note – she and gentle Ben took first place in the draft horse category.
The 4-H fair continues through Thursday at the fairgrounds at 210 W. Winfield St. Gates open at 8 a.m. and judging runs through mid-afternoon. Rabbits and general projects will be judged today. Admission is free.