New riders will be chosen tomorrow for the Hardin-Simmons University’s Six White Horses Team. The world-famous horses and their riders have been performing in parades and shows since the early 1930s. They have marched in inaugural parades for six U.S. presidents.
Riders are chosen each year, with the current riders also having to prove they are among the best in the tryouts. Students competing for the coveted spots are judged on horsemanship, personality, and appearance.
According to Debbie Jones, director of the Six White Horses program, as many as 20 students may show up for the tryouts. Jones says, “The judges are primarily former White Horse riders or may have ridden on HSU rodeo teams; they know what qualities make a good rider.”
Tryouts are Tuesday, September 18, 2012, beginning at 5:00 p.m. and lasting till about 6:30 p.m. Due to weather, tryouts have been moved to the Taylor County Expo Center Horse Barn.
Eight new riders will be chosen during the tryouts, and the public is welcome to come and cheer or just watch.
Jones and her team are gearing up for another busy season of rodeos, parades, homecomings, and fat stock shows across the Big Country and the state. The team practices three nights a week to get ready for the busy season. They also have to prep the horses with haircuts, scrubbing and manicuring, and prepare their riding gear and outfits for the upcoming shows.
Last week the team was a highlight of the West Texas Fair Rodeo at the Taylor County Coliseum. “Horses and riders gallop around the arena controlling the horse with one hand,” says Jones, “and holding one of the six flags that have flown over Texas in the other hand.”
This coming weekend, September 21-22, 2012, the Six White Horses Team will appear in the Jim Ned ISD Homecoming parade in Tuscola. On Saturday, they will ride in the Trent ISD Homecoming parade. Horses and riders will make several appearances during the HSU Homecoming, October 12-13, 2012.