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Riding horses more than a hobby for local family

Riding horses more than a hobby for local family

On your horse, in that zone

November 19th, 2017 by Kevin Labotka in Local News

<p>Submitted photo:</p><p>Melody Struemph Nagel has been compeiting in horse shows for over 35 years and has won two World Grand Championships.</p>

Competing in horse show competitions may sound like it is stressful, but Melody Struemph Nagel says it is quite stress relieving.

Nagel has been involved in horse shows for around 35 years.

Nagel, 44, has won two World Grand Championships, one in 2001 and the other in 2016.

"I've always shown with my parents, and it is something I really enjoy," Nagel said. "Its a stress reliever, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. It just seems like once you get on (the horse's) back, you kind of forget about the other problems of the world. You are just on your horse, and you are in that zone."

Nagel enjoys the time she spends with the other people she competes against in horse shows.

"My horse show family is like another family to me," Nagel said. "Even though we are really good friends outside the arena, once you get through that gate, the competition gets in your body and it is every man for themselves. But, we are always cheering each other on."

The season for horse show goes from May to September. But Nagel said she trail rides her horses, when the season is over and raises the newborns in the spring, so that there is always something to do.

"It's a good family hobby to have," Nagel said. "My son, I hope he is going to start showing in the next year or so. It gets in your blood, and it is something hard to get out."

Nagel rides a Missouri Foxtrotter, which is the state horse of Missouri, during the horse shows. During the show, Nagel's horse performs multiple gaits, including a flat foot walk, foxtrot and canter.

Even though she has won a couple of championships, Nagel wants to stay on the top or as close to the top, as long as possible.

The hardest part of getting the horses ready to compete for Nagel would be making the time to train them, while still working at her job and taking care of her family.

"This is my hobby and trying to work a full-time job and trying to manage a family and trying to manage my horse is probably the hardest part for me," Nagel said. "You get to the end of the day and you had a stressful day at work and you get home and you've got your child asking you to do something and your husband asking you to do something and yet you've got to go to the barn and feed and condition and ride your horse.

"You can't slack off and let (the horses) go for two weeks and expect to get on them and go to a show and win. You've got to stay on it."