WHITE CITY, Ore. — Olivia Tucker has owned her mini horse, Tuff, for four years. She plays with Tuff, exercises Tuff, and bonds him him.
“He’s got quite a personality, and we get along pretty well,” Tucker said.
This year, Olivia and Tuff became more than friends. They became a team.
“I just decided to show minis this year,” Tucker said. “I went to a clinic with my mom, and I took him with me, and since I thought, ‘well, this is kind of fun. I think I actually will do showing this year and see how that goes.”
In their first show in May, Olivia and Tuff qualified for the American Miniature Horse Association World Championships in Fort Worth, Texas in September.
“I know that the competition’s really tough out there,” Roberta Hardy, Olivia’s mother, said. “I mean, there’s a lot of nicer horses out there. I was very, very happy and surprised when she qualified at her very first show.”
It was her very first show working with a mini, but Olivia has experience with bigger horses.
“I still do show big horses, just not as much this year, and I like it because they’re fun,” Tucker said. “They have personalities as you can see with Tuff right now.”
“A lot of people say they’re just large dogs with hooves and some of them are,” Hardy said. “You know, they’ve all got their little quirks.”
Sometimes that can create an even bigger challenge in competitions, but Olivia has a pretty good teacher. Her mother started showing minis a year before Olivia.
“Since this is my first year, I don’t know much about the dress code and how they’re supposed to look so it’s nice being able to have her help me and have the rule book with her all the time,” Tucker said.
“I love it. It’s really amazing, and seeing her out there this year several of the judges have complimented her on what such a nice, beautiful little picture they make when they’re driving,” Hardy said.
Her mother is also going to the World Championships, not to compete, but to support her pupil and daughter.
“She’s actually living my dream, but this is, you know, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and she needs to go,” Hardy said.
“For more information on how to donate/sponsor Olivia on her trip, email Roberta Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Olivia’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OliviaandTuff