Darcy Davis knows what it means to win, but more importantly, she knows what it means to be happy.
Just 8 years old, Davis spends many weekends each year competing in local open shows with her paint horses. It is something she has been doing since she was 4.
“Darcy started her interest in horses when she was very little,” her mother Michelle Davis said Saturday morning in the Coliseum on the Missouri State Fairgrounds as she watched her daughter compete in the Missouri Paint Horse Show. “It was my activity when I was her age and I think she just wanted to be with me and do something that I have always enjoyed.
“I was a farm girl, a pa-pa’s girl, and so is Darcy,” Michelle added. “This is just something that she truly loves to do.”
The young girl was competing in four events at Saturday’s competition — showmanship, equestrian, trail, and horsemanship.
“She has a lot of patterns that she has to remember with each of the events,” Michelle said. “Sometimes the events go so fast that it is hard to remember everything that she has to do.
“If she forget or makes a mistake, she doesn’t come out of the ring mad,” Michelle added. “She just smiles and says I’ll try harder next time.”
Throughout the morning, Darcy had a constant smile on her face as she both competed and practiced her patterns with her horse, Sonny Spicer, which the family leases from Rose Dunlap. Dunlap is Darcy’s 4-H leader and was at the event to work with Darcy.
“Rose’s daughter Kelsey is here competing as well,” Michelle said. “Both of them are very patient and kind and help Darcy learn more about the shows and how to work with her horse.
“Darcy is competing against girls who are much older than she is so it’s really nice to have some familiar, friendly faces,” she added.
Making new friends and learning valuable life lessons while working with her horses are part of the reason Darcy competes.
“My horses and the shows are my favorite things to do,” Darcy said after she practiced some of her patterns outside the Coliseum. “It’s just really fun and I like it a lot.
“Every night I have to feed my horses and I spend time with them and my family,” she added. “I started riding was I was 4, and I just really like it.”
For Michelle, it is an opportunity to spend time with her family doing something that she loved as a child as well.
“I think that Darcy will stick with this,” Michelle said. “I think 4-H and working with animals can teach her and all kids so many things.
“I know she has learned responsibility and patience because of working with her horses,” she added. “It’s nice when she wins but more importantly we just want her to have fun and be happy.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.