Second-chance mare a champion
In between shows Thursday of his daughter’s black mare, Bobbie, Daryl Kliewer dropped to his knees. While periodically wiping sweat from his brow, accumulating quickly with the 100-degree heat in Hillsboro, Kliewer used a thick polish pen to bring each hoof to a bright black shine.
“You want the horse to have a sense of presence,” Kliewer said.
A lot of training and attention to detail go into training and presenting a championship show horse.
Olivia Kliewer, 17, of Hillsboro, works with her mare Bobbie for at least an hour every night to go over the steps and pattern for upcoming shows. They also exercise, running Bobbie in circles and walking.
“It’s a lot of long hours and sweaty saddle blankets,” Olivia said.
They work at night to keep Bobbie’s coat a shining black color. The mare stays indoors during the day to keep her coat from bleaching and turning brown.
To enhance Bobbie’s appearance, the Kliewers use a bright silver bridle that is worth $500. The Kliewers also attach a fake tail to give the horse’s tail more volume and length.
“If you don’t have a fake tail, you can’t compete in the bigger shows,” Kliewer said.
The Kliewers have put in the work and time to make Bobbie a champion, but Olivia and Bobbie’s three-year partnership almost never happened.
Bobbie was conceived by accident when a stallion got into a pen with a mare. The stallion’s owner attempted to abort the unplanned pregnancy but it was too late and Bobbie was born.
Knowing the horse owner, Kliewer was able to purchase Bobbie at a low price. She comes from championship stock — the stallion had competed in a world championship show, Kliewer said.
“It survived and we made it into a champion,” Kliewer said.
Over the three years Olivia and Bobbie have worked together they have been a grand champion at competitions twice.
They compete in shows, a league, and fairs from late March through the end of July.
Olivia has been showing horses for six years, since she was in fourth grade. She said she has won approximately 20 events in that time.
The teenage showman takes as much pride in her own appearance as she does with her horse. When a bright green Marion County Fair T-shirt and jeans would have been acceptable, Olivia wore a black hat, black slacks, and black rhinestone-studded shirt to match Bobbie’s coat.
She thought it could have been the difference between first and second place in the senior competition Thursday.
“That first impression is important,” Kliewer said.
“When you spend this kind of money on a horse, you have to do it right,” Kliewer said.