Andrea “Andi” Brandner and her horse Simon Says Sensational won two Grand Champions at the State 4-H horse show in Huron held July 25-—one in Hunt Seat Equitation and another in Stock Seat Equitation. They also received a fifth place in English Showmanship.
Andi will be a junior at Harrisburg High School this fall; she is the daughter of Rob Brandner, Melissa and Herman Otten. She has lived near Tea her whole life and much of that time has been spent around horses.
“I have enjoyed working with horses ever since my mom introduced them to me when I was around 4 years old,” she said.
She’s been involved in 4-H for seven years now.
“I started competing when I was eight years old. This year I have invested so much time into my horse, we have put in countless hours of work and it has really paid off,” she said.
One of the challenges she faces with her horse, Simon, is that he is deaf.
“He responds strictly off of leg cues,” Andi said.
This year, Andi had the opportunity to travel to Alabama several times to work with college equestrian coaches at Auburn University. These experiences have helped her to improve her horsemanship skills.
“I was able to take the skills I learned in Auburn and apply them to my training at home. I started working with Simon last summer and rode him all winter,” she said.
She co-owns Simon with her mom.
“I work with Simon nearly every day, I give him a day or so off after long shows,” she added.
Working with him almost daily though has paid off, as is evident by her outstanding performance at the State 4-H show. Although for Andi it’s not just about the training.
“The State 4-H horse show is a great place to meet others who share the same passion. I have made so many amazing friends throughout my years in 4-H,” she said.
She finds the most rewarding part is walking out of the show ring, “knowing we gave a 110%.”
“I’m truly blessed to have such a hardworking horse,” she said, “Showing horses has provided so many outstanding opportunities, I hope to compete on a college equestrian team when I graduate.”