A Winning Combination

BEMUS POINT – A local girl with a love for horses returned from the state fair with a few more ribbons to hang on her wall.

Sixteen-year-old Kendra Hockran from Bemus Point went to the New York State Fair in Syracuse to compete in several equestrian events, and returned home with a group victory, two individual victories and a collection of other placings from the event.

And although such is an accomplishment enough on its own of which to be proud, the horse which Hockran used in most of her events was rescued from an abusive owner just two years ago.

“About two years ago, he was abused at his home,” Hockran said. “It’s something that I really pride myself in. He was readied for show (in those two years) all through my own training, with the help of an instructor.”

Specifically, Hockran and Jack, the rescued horse, left the state fair with a group victory in drill team, as well as victories in two dressage classes: musical freestyle and first level test two.

“Drill team was a really great accomplishment,” Hockran said.

And as impressive as Hockran’s outing at the state fair is, it becomes more impressive that Jack is only an 8-year-old horse.

“It’s pretty young for a horse,” Hockran said. “Dressage horses are considered to be in their primes between 15-20 years old.”

Since returning from the fair, Hockran has received a handful of text messages from her friends congratulating her, as well as hugs and congratulations from family members, however she has remained humble about her accomplishments. According to Hockran, she would one day like to make a career out of training and caring for horses, and her eyes are focused on that goal.

“I love horses in general, because of their personality,” Hockran continued. “All of them are fun to work with. They’re all so willing and eager – even the horses that some people say are mischievous – there’s no horse that is truly a bad horse, they just might not understand what you’d like of them. My goal is to, within five to 10 years, open up a barn. I’d like to breed, sell, train and give lessons with horses. It’s all that I’d really like to do.”

And although Hockran has been involved with horses her whole life, she said that she owes much to the Chautauqua County 4-H program.

“4-H put me in touch with a phenomenal horse trainer,” Hockran said. “Before I met her, we had trainers on and off, and I’ve had bad experiences with some of them before I met her. If it was not for 4-H, I don’t think Jack would be half the horse he is – we might have sold him a while ago. When we first got Jack, he was flat-out dangerous. You really couldn’t even get on him because he couldn’t trust anyone. The friends, the trainers and the knowledge I got from 4-H really helped me, and I’m truly grateful for it.”