North Allegheny senior Sarah Offner knows the way to her horse Bailey’s heart – bananas.
And pretty much anything else that Bailey can eat.
“He’s very playful and goofy all the time, so I’ve heard stories about him getting out of his stall, running around and eating all the food,” Sarah said. “I also heard that one time they had cookies out in the barn and somehow he got to them.”
Sarah and Bailey have been riding together for three years and recently qualified for the state 4-H competition in Western Horse Showmanship.
The last time Sarah made it to states was in 2016 with a pony named Mr. Red.
“I’m really excited, because it’s my first time going with Bailey,” Sarah, a North Allegheny senior, said. “I didn’t really think we would get this far, so it was a nice surprise. I was just really excited and proud for him and I was proud of myself, too.”
Bailey’s mischievous personality occasionally extends into their practice sessions despite Sarah’s bribery with snacks.
“He’s always excited when I see him,” Sarah said. “I think it’s probably because I bring him all of the treats he likes, so he knows I usually have something for him. He seems to listen, but sometimes it can be hard. Sometimes he wants to be lazy and doesn’t want to listen, so you just have to be patient with him.”
Sarah rides with Bailey year-round for one to two times a week.
“I like everything about him,” Sarah said. “He had a rider before me, and there was a time when they stopped seeing him. He was just kind of by himself until I met him, and we’ve become really close.”
Sarah is a third-year student in A.W. Beattie’s Veterinary Sciences program and wants to be an animal physical therapist.
“I’ve always loved animals, so I really wanted to do this,” Sarah said. “After Beattie hopefully I’ll get a job working with animals while I go to college.”