Already Off To College, Busy Alta Vista Farm Girl
Continues Stepping Out For Diverse Obliging Life
By Frank J. Buchman
There’s never a dull moment or a spare second either for this cowgirl.
“I’m always ready to step outside my comfort zone. I want to go out of the box to be involved, do more and help others every way I can.”
Her own words surely are the most accurate description of Morgan Poole.
Yet, uncertain if calling the Alta Vista farm girl a cowgirl is sufficiently accurate; possibly even an understatement to some.
She certainly is a cowgirl, horsewoman, trainer, but much more, too.
Long list far from complete, Morgan is a: peer leader, musician, star athlete, dog handler, artist, expert marksman, and talented young businesswoman.
Perhaps topping everything today, she’s already a college student.
A May honor graduate of Council Grove High School, Morgan’s busy summer activities abruptly ended.
She had to be on campus at Cloud County Community College in Concordia to begin practicing volleyball. Ready verification of most capable diversity, Morgan took the opportunity to be a walk on and contribute her efforts to the college volleyball team.
“I had to leave before the Morris County Fair was over, but priorities call. I still had a great summer and an outstanding fair even though it meant an end to my 12-year 4-H career,” Morgan said.
Now on campus, still no extra time, Morgan emphatically recognizes the greatest asset of getting her where she is today. “I couldn’t have done any of this without Dad and Mom, and my older sister Megan,” she declared.
“They’ve always been ready to help in every way. At one point or another they’ve all put down whatever they were doing for me,” insisted the 18-year-old daughter of John and Michelle Poole.
So where to start: horses of course. “I’ve had horses since I was very little. Horses have been such an important part of my life, and they continue to fit well into everything else I do,” she insisted.
In reality, it’d likely be impossible to rank importance of Morgan’s gifted diversities and involvements top to bottom. “I just enjoy doing everything I do, no regrets whatsoever, but being so busy can get a bit stressful sometimes,” she admitted.
“My sister and I started with Miniature Horses and ponies,” Morgan reflected. “They were a lot of fun, and we still have three Miniatures, but I soon wanted to upgrade.”
She got her sorrel Quarter Horse mare called Classy. “I was just seven-years-old and had very little experiences, so there definitely were some challenges,” Morgan confessed. “Classy turned out to be a great all-around horse to use in both performance and speed events.”
Still collecting awards, Classy is 21-years-old. “It was getting harder for her to get around,” Morgan reflected. So, last year I decided to see about getting another horse to take some of the pressure off Classy.”
After looking at what was being offered, Morgan took a chance and acquired a two-year-old Appaloosa gelding called Chance.
“I didn’t have much experience training such a young horse, but there really weren’t any major issues,” she said.
Verifying that she taught Chance “most of what he knows,” Morgan said. “I had a mindset to make him into a great all-around horse, and I think he really is that.”
Of course there’s some prejudice, but it’s backed up by fact, too. Morgan and Chance won the two-year-old snaffle bit class in 4-H competition last fall at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson.
“It had three components, two riding classes and a knowledge test,” she said. “I was second going into the final ride, where Chance gave an outstanding performance, so we were named overall grand champion.”
While Morgan still rides the dependable Classy, her main mount this year has been Chance. “He’s continued to get better and better,” she said. “I’ve been riding Chance in not just rail classes, but other performance competitions including reining and running events, too.
“It has been such a fun journey learning with a young horse. I couldn’t be more proud of the progress that we continue to make,” Morgan said.
Appreciating Chance’s conformation from her own horse judging experiences, Morgan was pleased when he was selected the Morris County Fair’s reserve grand champion halter horse. “I knew Chance was nicely balanced, stylish and a good mover,” she said. “Then placing that high among the top halter horses there just proves it.”
Morgan is a musician in the fullest extent of the definition. “I’ve always just had a great appreciation for music,” she said. “I started singing publicly when I was seven and have entertained at events all around.”
That musical inclination spread out rather uniquely when at 11-years-old Morgan undertook learning to play the mandolin. “It’s really been a great experience, too. There aren’t many people who play the mandolin so that always attracts comment in itself,” she said.
Playing coupled with singing has further expanded Morgan’s entertainment engagements to a widely diverse audience. Aside from performing on her own, she’s also a member of the Problematic Printers playing at dances and presenting concerts in the area.
“I hadn’t taken music in school until last year, when I joined the choir. I’ve learned so much from that. There’s always so much to learn,” she said.
Her love of and talent in music and constant desire to help others has set Morgan in her career choice. “I’m majoring in music therapy, because I want to be able to use something I love to better the lives of others around me,” she said.
“I’ve done a lot of studying on the subject,” Morgan noted. “Music has the ability to promote health and wellness by bettering memory, physical skills and even communication.”
Following in the sports abilities of her parents and sister, Morgan is an all-around star as well. “I’ve had a great time playing volleyball and basketball, and running in track, too,” she said.
In finding success in all three sports, Morgan’s efforts have also allowed her to amplify her leadership abilities.
Dixie, a 10-year-old Heeler-Lab cross, is Morgan’s companion around the farm and in life. “I’ve shown her successfully in 4-H showmanship, agility and obedience, but Dixie is really just a farm dog at home,” she said.
“I already really miss my horses and Dixie here at college,” she added.
Active in the Dwight Sunflowers 4-H Club, where her mother is community leader, Morgan has served all club offices.
“My 4-H experiences have really made a difference in my life,” she insisted. “I’ve learned so much about so many things, but most importantly skills such as leadership and public speaking that will take me far in life.”
That leadership experience carried over into FFA and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America.” She’s been secretary and reporter of FFA and the FLBA secretary.
“My experiences in those organizations have helped make me even more diversified outside the box,” Morgan repeated.
Competing in a number of competitions for both groups, Morgan was especially pleased by qualifying to participate in national FLBA events, after winning at the state level.
Expanding the realm, Morgan is an active member of the community and was nominated as the Junior Grand Marshall of the Washunga Days Parade in Council Grove.
An accomplished artist and photographer, Morgan said, “I also was in shooting sports and really enjoyed doing that too.”
Following two years at Cloud County, Morgan will continue music therapy education at a four-year college.
“I’m leaning toward K-State, but KU also has a good program, so time will tell,” she said. “I’ll likely begin with an internship at a therapeutic center, maybe even a health clinic or hospital. Then, maybe go into practice on my own someday.”
As with everything Morgan has accomplished and conquered, she works for the results she wants and has benefitted from her hard work and dedication
Certainly, Morgan Poole will continue stepping outside the box.