NORTH JACKSON, Ohio – A family’s love of horses and willingness to open its homes and farm to area youth has led to the creation of Mahoning County’s newest 4-H club.
The North Jackson Corral Crue started out a family affair, as the Smith family was always getting together at “The Farm” owned by Earla (Grandpa) Smith.
“We were always getting together to do horse stuff, then others started coming around, and we decided a 4-H club was a good way to go,” said Adell Smith, adviser. “It just seemed like a natural progression for us.”
The club is currently made up of 10 youth, ranging from 8 to 16 in age, and four advisers – Carol Smith, Cheryl Smith, Adell Smith and Jason Sanderbeck. All but two of the members are taking horse 4-H projects.
“The other two are still involved with horses, though. They clean out stalls and learn about the care of the animals,” said Cheryl Smith, head adviser. “It’s a really good bunch of kids who are willing to work and learn.”
Opening ‘The Farm.’
The Smith family allows the club to meet and practice at its farm on Gladstone Road. The family donated materials, and members and advisers constructed a riding ring at the farm where the 4-H’ers practice. Members are also allowed to stable their horses at the farm.
“We welcome the 4-H’ers any time. The good thing is that an adviser is almost always available to help the kids,” said Adell Smith.
Members are currently practicing for North Jackson’s Memorial Day Parade. The North Jackson Corral Crue will be the only 4-H club in the parade on horseback. Club members will make their way through the streets carrying flags and have been working with the horses get them used to the flags and each other.
Adviser Jason Sanderbeck teaches members proper horsemanship and helps them to feel comfortable and safe with the animals. Sanderbeck has spent the better part of his life showing and training horses.
“I love working with the kids. They are so enthusiastic and want to learn and do everything,” said Sanderbeck. “I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.”
The club is not completely horse-minded. Members have committed to a variety of community projects.
“When we got started, the advisers told (members) they were going to make the decisions as far as community projects and fund raising, and we are just here for the paper work,” said Sanderbeck. “They’ve done that. They have stepped up to the plate and made really good decisions as a team.”
The club is taking part in Mahoning County Solid Waste Management District’s “Adopt a Spot.” Members and advisers will keep a 11/2-mile stretch of Gladstone Road between State Route 45 and Lipkey Road clean from garbage. The club’s first clean up was April 13.
“We cleaned up trash, tires, a chair, boards and a bunch of other stuff,” said Ashley Loutzenhiser, member. “There was a lot of junk on the side of the road, but it looks good now.”
Members have also volunteered to be “rescued” as part of a training exercise for the North East Ohio Search and Rescue Neosar Dog Team.
“The dog team will come to the farm, and the members will get a hands-on rescue experience while helping to train the dogs,” said Adell Smith. “The farm has over 100 acres of very different terrain so it was the perfect training spot.”
As any new group, the club is currently looking for sponsors to either donate money or materials to put a No. 10 limestone dust base in the horse ring.
“It’s a pretty expensive proposition, but it is the best for training horses and training our kids on horses,” said Smith. “They have put a lot of work into getting the ring together and it would be nice to eventually hold open horse shows at the ring.”
The club and Smith family also hopes to install some sort of seating at the ring for future demonstrations or shows.
For information about the club or to make a donation call Carol Smith at 330-547-4132 (days); Cheryl Smith at 330-538-2811 (after 4 p.m.); Adell Smith at 330-538-3107 or Jason Sanderbeck at 330-502-8104.
(Reporter Annie Santoro can be reached at 1-800-837-3419, ext.. 22, or by email at email@example.com.)