By Jill Fox
After much hard work and dedication, three young residents from a Parkland-based Equestrian team represented Florida at the Southern Regional 4-H Horse Championship in Perry, Georgia.
Elisabeth Mitchell, Hailey Teitelbaum, and Liam Tangney, who train at Wattland II Barn in Parkland, under the team name “Wattland ll Roustabouts,” qualified to represent Florida among just 70 children in the state.
The regional event is comprised of 13 southeastern states, from Virginia to Texas, and is the only event of its kind in the nation.
“Overall the kids represented very well,” said Hailey’s mother, Elizabeth Cohen, “Not only were they representing Broward county, but the entire state of Florida.”
Hailey, a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, was happy to accomplish more than she had the previous year.
“It showed growth for my horse and for me. We were able to place in four classes, and I’m very happy with the outcome.”
Mitchell, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, attended the regional show for the second year and was thrilled to be able to take her new horse, Addy, who exceeded every expectation she had.
“For as young as she was, Addy did a lot more than what the older guys can do,” said Mitchell.
Tangney, an eighth-grade student at Westglades Middle, also felt his horse did much better than anticipated.
“We were finalists in horsemanship, so I was really happy with how we did,” he said.
These kids aren’t just horsing around. The three equestrians spent 18 hours each of the five days, preparing and competing in the senior division.
Additionally, an essential part of 4-H is community service. This year, the group chose a craft project where they made a few dozen puppy blankets and brought them to Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Okeechobee.
Team leader, Dawn Watt, who owns the barn, has been involved in 4-H for many years, first as a member and now, a leader said this competition was as high as the team could go.
“The new year starts in September, and we do it all again.”