Niles girl, 16, takes 3 top equestrian honors at youth fair

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- In her fifth year showing and riding horses at the Berrien County Youth Fair, Jennifer Hiers of Niles made a solid impact at this year's Fair.
Having won three Grand Champion awards, however, winning the showmanship competition is what sticks to her mind the most.
Hiers, who is 16, said she has worked with horses for the last eight years.
She eliminated competition from 20 to 25 other riders through a three round process of elimination in each of the categories she won.
The categories were showmanship, western halter and western pleasure.
Hiers said the competition was fierce in all of the categories she competed in.
And, her competitors, many of whom she competes against at open horse shows in Michigan and Indiana throughout the year, are getting better every year.
But the 16-year-old enjoys the competition.
Hiers, who will be a junior at Niles High School this year, rides every day at home.
She has spent countless of hours preparing for this year's Fair and winning the showmanship competition was special.
Her show horse P.T, a paint, was bought from a show horse trainer.
But aside from that, Hiers does all the training on her own.
She said the hardest part of the showmanship competition is memorizing the pattern each participant is given by the judges.
The pattern, which the contestants get 15 minutes to memorize, is the route in which they need to lead their horse.
He is glad to see her countless hours of hard work materialize into this years three awards.
Competing at the Fair, however, is just one aspect of being at the Fair for Hiers.
Hiers said apart from showing and competing, the Fair is also a good place to catch up with people she hasn't seen since last year's Fair.
But she said it's also a good time to make new friends.
Judy Hiers, Jennifer's mother, is excited about her daughter's victories.
One challenge remains for Hiers at the Fair, and that is today's Sweepstakes competition.
The Grand Champions of all animals shown in competition during the Fair will gather and show six different animals.
That means Hiers will have to show, beef, pigs, sheep, goats and other animals she has no experience in showing.
Not sounding too confident about her chances to run away with the sweepstakes award, Hiers said she did practice showing beef on Thursday.
By no means intending to give up before the battle has been fought.

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County reports three new COVID-19 deaths

Dowagiac

Patrick Hamilton Elementary School closes for three days due to COVID-19

Dowagiac

Don, Joan Lyons donate $28,000 to Dowagiac Union Schools

Buchanan

Registration open for YMCA’s 39th annual Thanksgiving Day Run

Dowagiac

Dowagiac schools receive positive audit

News

Niles Township passes sewage increase

Business

Four Flags Antique Mall acquires new owners

Dowagiac

14th annual Sandhill Crane All Trail Race draws record numbers

Cass County

Woman in stable condition following Sunday shooting

Cass County

Suspect pleads guilty in Dowagiac murder case

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: COVID-19 cases continue to rise in southwest Michigan

Cass County

Lewis Cass ISD Parents as Teachers program receives national recognition

Dowagiac

Sister Lakes Brewing Company hosts Dewey Lake Monster conference

Giving

Chili cook-off benefited displaced veterans through chow, competition and charity

Cass County

Cass County seeks volunteers for boards, committees

Berrien County

Operation Safe Stop runs this week

Cass County

Woman shot in Calvin Township, suspect arrested in Goshen

Cassopolis

Cassopolis Middle School student tests positive for COVID-19

Berrien County

Buchanan Township man hospitalized following Friday evening stabbing

Dowagiac

Dowagiac District Library launches new programs

Dowagiac

Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac to host fifth annual mommy, son event

Dowagiac

Rotary ready to volunteer at Sandhill Crane Run

Berrien County

YMCA of Greater Michiana opens full day childcare at Northside Child Development Center

News

Fall hiking tour planned at Madeline Bertrand County Park