Jessica Waldschmidt, of Cassopolis, runs with a Percheron draft horse in the show ring at the Cass County Fair Thursday. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)
Jessica Waldschmidt, of Cassopolis, runs with a Percheron draft horse in the show ring at the Cass County Fair Thursday. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)

Archived Story

Cass girl reaches goal at final fair

Published 10:51am Friday, August 1, 2014

About halfway through the Draft Horse Showmanship competition, Jessica Waldschmidt let the thought of winning creep into her head.

She knew she was in a good position and that all she had to do was bring it home without messing up.

“I don’t think I was nervous at that time. It was more like I was all worked up and really excited,” said the Cassopolis 19-year-old.

To make things more interesting, Waldschmidt was also showing with the knowledge that this was her last chance to compete in the fair as a youth.

In 11 years, she had never been named the fair’s top draft horse showman.

This was her last shot.

When the judge pulled her out to declare her the winner, Waldschmidt looked straight at her mother, Patty, and let out a deep breath.

“It was just all relief there,” she said.

Jessica did not do anything differently this year. She said she just went out there and had fun.

“I didn’t expect to win. I knew that I could, I just didn’t expect it,” said Jessica, who will be a sophomore at Lake Michigan College in the fall studying biology.

Jessica has been around draft horses since she was a little girl. She even drives them at weddings and parties throughout southwest Michigan for Suseland Farms Percherons.

She said she would miss the thrill of showing in the youth competitions, although she plans to be back to help out and compete as an adult next year.

“It’s not really the end,” she said.

By virtue of her win, Jessica will compete for the first time in Saturday’s Large Animal Showmanship Sweepstakes.

The draft horse Jessica shows is owned by Jeff, Sharon and Madison Suseland. It is a Percheron draft horse named Madison.

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