Helping Others Learn About Benefit Of Horses Is Objective Of State 4-H Horse Project Winner
By Frank J. Buchman
“I’ve been riding horses ever since I can remember. Horses are an important part of my life, and I want to help others learn more about horses to enjoy all they offer in so many ways.”
Brayden Krepps’ enthusiasm for horses is most obvious as he talked about his many activities earning the 15-year-old Cambridge horseman honors as the state 4-H award winner in the horse project.
A member of the Tisdale 4-H Club in Cowley County, Krepps, a home-schooled sophomore, is a son of Wayne and Angie Krepps, and readily acknowledges his parents’ knowledge and assistance working with horses.
“We live on a small ranch, and my parents and I ride and use our horses for working cattle. We also participate in other horse events, but horse is actually my main 4-H project, although I’m busy in a number of 4-H activities,” Krepps said.
His first main mount, Smokey, now a 25-year-old Quarter Horse, still sees limited use. “He’s a ranch horse, really, even though I did show Smokey at a few horse shows. But, that’s not what he’s cut out to do, obviously. He is just happier doing ranch work,” the young horseman said.
Joining 4-H as a seven-year-old, Krepps entered his first Cowley County Fair at Winfield the next year with Smokey, and the following year, a gray Quarter Horse gelding called LeRoy, participating in all of the Western classes.
Different horses have been used as his county fair mount, but last year was a climax to Krepps’ participation. “I rode my mom’s foundation-bred Blue Valentine bred gelding called Fuzzy, and won the highpoint award. That had been my goal all of the time,” the young horseman said.
While’s he participated in the state fair with other entries, Krepps plans to compete in the District 4-H Horse Show at Kingman, on July 11, with hopes to qualify for entry in the Kansas State Fair Horse Show this year at Hutchinson.
Right with his horse passion is Krepps’ youthful leadership skills. “I’m enrolled in a lot of projects, try to help everybody I can through junior leadership, am a 4-H Ambassador and serve as vice president of the Cowley County 4-H Council,” said Krepps, who also serves a junior project leader for the Cowley County 4-H Horse Project.
Enrolled in other livestock projects, including lambs and swine, Krepps had the grand champion barrow at the county fair last year, and has hopes for high placings in both projects this year, along with, of course, the horse division.
Leathercraft is also an important project for the 4-H club member. “I’ve had the grand champion leather craft project at the county fair every year. I really enjoy working with leather and have had great help from my mom and grandpa. I really appreciate that,” Krepps said.
Among his leather projects have been a horse pulling collar, which he admitted was a major undertaking, along with planner, tooled leather picture frames, a hair-on-hide pillow and leather dominoes. “The dominoes were made out of leather scraps, and are kind of neat, too,” he noted.
Continuously working to advance his personal knowledge of horses, Krepps had a two-year-old Playgun filly to participate in the snaffle bit division at the state fair last year. “I was so disappointed, that she was injured, so I didn’t get to show her. But, I’m still going ahead and training the filly myself. She’s my first main challenge in horse training,” he said.
Always anxious to help others learn about horses, Krepps provides advice to all 4-H members and has helped especially with the horseless horse project. “That’s really good to give hands-on experience, and I will probably do more work with that,” he assured.
A Horse Skill Board has been developed by Krepps to spread horse knowledge throughout the community.
“It is really kind of unique with different information about horse parts, colors, nutrition, parasites and the like. There’s a little quiz that goes along with the board to complete the skill-a-thon, and people sure seem to enjoy learning more about horses. I had the display at the county club days, district 4-H days, and will have it at a lot more events,” Krepps said.
The young horseman credited his mom as a major inspiration for working with horses. “She has competed in women’s ranch rodeos, served as secretary of that group. All of my family participates in the Kansas Ranch Roping Association. We go to about ten competitions annually. I was fourth in the youth division last year, and am working to do better in the future,” Krepps said.
With a little brother, Caleb, just turning three, Krepps looks forward to getting him involved with horses, in 4-H club work, and hopefully being his partner in team roping and ranch competitions. “It’s really neat seeing the world from a little kid’s perspective sometimes,” Krepps admitted.
Career future seems distant for Krepps at this point. “I’m uncertain exactly what I’ll be doing, but I’ll definitely always be involved with horses,” he assured.
“My focus now is working with my horses, increasing my knowledge of horsemanship and most importantly helping other 4-H members and the general public learn about horses,” verified Kansas 4-H Horse Project State Award winner Brayden Krepps.