PHOTO STORY: Niles teen takes home three first place wins in Cass County Fair youth horse, pony show

CASSOPOLIS — Dalia Awshana has always known her horse, Jimmy, was made for jumping.

When the now 19-year-old first brought her chestnut and white-colored horse home nearly eight years ago, the first thing he did was jump the fence and run away.

While some might have seen Jimmy’s instinct to flee as a problem, Awshana saw nothing but potential.

“I said, ‘OK, he’s a jumper,’” she recalled with a laugh.

Jimmy’s jumping instincts proved useful Wednesday morning, earning Awshana blue ribbons and gold trophies.

During Wednesday morning’s youth horse and pony show, Awshana, of Niles, took home three first-place wins in intermediate hunter, jumping equitation over fences and hunter hack. Wednesday’s show was host to several competitions including jumping, Western and ranch horsemanship, and versatility.

“I feel pretty good,” Awshana said. “I’m happy. The best part is that [Jimmy] likes it a lot. He loves it.”

Awshana has been riding for eight years, all of it with Jimmy, who goes by the show name Sun Dancer. Awshana and Jimmy began showing five years ago, with jumping being one of the duo’s main focuses.

“You can move forward,” she said of jumping. “You can let your horse go, and you don’t have to run them back and slow them down.”

This year marks Awshana’s final year showing 4-H. She said her wins Wednesday put a positive cap on her showing experience.

“It feels good,” she said. “It feels like the hard work I put in paid off.”

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