Horse show draws hundreds of entries

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Hundreds of horses from five states were at Flickerwood Arena on Saturday for two purposes: to be judged and to benefit the Diabetes Youth Fund at Southeast Missouri Hospital.

While the Midwest Regional Futurity and Heartland Jubilee Horse Show lets horse owners show their stock for potential sale and breeding and network with handlers and other owners, it has also generated more than $12,000 for the Diabetes Youth Fund in the past six years.

Handlers crooned, talked soothingly and blew in the horses' faces in an effort to persuade the young horses to focus and look straight ahead for the judge. Discipline was an important factor.

Discipline is also an important factor at Camp DAY Break, one of the programs sponsored by Southeast Missouri Hospital and the Southeast Area Chapter of the American Diabetes Association. Those who attend the two-day summer camp are educated about the discipline they need to manage their diabetes. There's more to it than insulin and shots.

"The camp helped me learn how to count carbohydrates," said 13-year-old Chelsea Birk of Delta, who was diagnosed with type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes in February. "At first it was hard, but then it became easy."

Chelsea said it was good to meet other children with the disease.

Her mother, Stacy, said, "I credit my daughter's accountability of her diabetes to patient educator Janet Stewart. Through Stewart we found out about all the programs. She came to Delta High School and educated all the teachers."

Clint Heuer, a diabetic now in his first year at Jackson Middle School, also attends Camp DAY Break. He helps other children learn more about the disease and how to prepare their shots.

For him, the horse show is personal. His family has been raising and showing horses for years, and family members have a major involvement in putting on the show.

Diagnosed six years ago while in kindergarten, Clint started showing signs of the disease during a vacation to Texas with his family. The constant hunger, thirst and necessity to use the restroom prompted his family to seek medical help.

"The only way it's really changed my life," he said, "is I can't eat sweets. But I don't really like them anymore."

The Midwest Regional Futurity is one of five futurities in the country. Weanlings, yearlings, 2- and 3-year-old horses were shown in the 1 p.m. class followed by a 6 p.m. Heartland Jubilee that showcased older horses. A diabetic rider class honored those with diabetes.

capagno@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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