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Riding a wave of success in 4-H

Within a year after her parents bought her the mare, Camille Waterford turned an average horse into a winner.

Published August 15, 2003

Whiskey Delight was an unremarkable trail horse when Al and Kate Waterford bought the mare last summer for their daughter.

Slowly, 14-year-old Camille transformed the brown and white, spotted saddle horse.

"She was fat with hardly any muscle definition when we got her," said Kate. "Now she has apparent muscle definition in her shoulders, legs and hips."

The 10th-grader, a member of the Boots & Bridles 4-H Club in Brandon, trained with the mare three times a week for local equestrian competitions.

In less than a year, Camille and the 11-year-old mare began to win competitions and collect ribbons. Altogether, the pair has won 25 awards in the two years that Camille has been riding.

Most recently, Camille won the saddleseat division of the Florida 4-H Equestrian competition, which earned her a position in the 4-H Southern Regionals in Georgia. Camille was the only Hillsborough County resident to advance to the competition, held in July in Perry. There, the duo finished seventh in the confirmation category, which was based on Whiskey's coat and muscle tone.

The transformation of rider and horse wasn't easy or cheap.

Riding costs, including food and horse supplies, can range between $800 and $1,000 a year. Equestrian gear starts about $300, and training requires a big investment of time.

"It's okay," said Al Waterford. "She'll pay me back when she gets famous."

[Last modified August 14, 2003, 09:54:35]

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