Tucked away on an 11-acre farm in Appling, one often can find Elizabeth Hare with her two equine teammates, Lillie and Pete.
Hare, a senior at Greenbrier High School, has been riding horses since she was 3 years old, but she didn't begin barrel horse racing until 2005. She competes in nearly 32 barrel horse racing shows each year and says she loves the excitement.
"You get to go fast, and you have to be coordinated with your horse," Hare said. "It's harder than it looks, but it's a lot of fun."
The Hare farm is home to six horses, which leaves Hare free to bond with the horses in the comfort of her own backyard.
"Horses are just fun," she said. "Our horses are pretty sweet for the most part."
Animals are a natural part of Hare's life.
In addition to the horses, the Hares have seven dogs and six cats.
Hare's work doesn't stop at the stable. She is part of Columbia County's Georgia 4-H district where she judges horses, poultry and forestry, and she competes in the National Barrel Horse Racing Association's South Carolina District 3. She also works at Boots, Bridles and Britches in Grovetown.
Though she doesn't have much free time, Hare said she can juggle the schedule. Barrel horse races are always on the weekends, so she doesn't have to miss school.
"I'm going to be busy, but I'll get it all done," she said.
Hare has raised money for charity in the past by participating in fund-raisers and community service projects through the 4-H program.
In 2004, she ran a trail ride at Wildwood Park in Appling and raised $3,900 for St. Jude Children's Hospital Research.
She also has helped to raise $3,100 for the Equine Rescue, Relief and Retirement Fund that aids abused and neglected horses.
"I'm very proud of her and what she's accomplished with barrel racing and 4-H," said her mother, Sarah Hare, who also has spent a lot of time with horses. "Sometimes, I'm a little nervous when she runs, but her dad and I are both very proud of her in general."
Hare recently started searching for colleges. She said she has applied to the University of Georgia, Augusta State University and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
She said she wants to major in poultry science, dairy science or equine science, which is the study and management of horses.
"I just want her to find something she's interested in doing," her mother said. "I want her to be happy with whatever she chooses."
Hare's immediate goal is to attend the next major barrel racing event. She has won two spots at the NBHA Youth World Championships in Mississippi and said she hopes she can attend.
After 14 years of riding horses, Hare hasn't suffered any broken bones from falls. "I'm not really afraid of getting hurt."
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