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Monday, May 2, 2016

Overcoming obstacles and ... Getting right back on

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Tiffany Redwine's former worst enemy is now her new best friend.

The 16-year-old Highland High School student brought home several awards from the Northeast 4-H District competition in Newport June 13. She was named senior queen and high point champion of the 19-county area. She also placed second in halter mares, first in senior trail, first in western pleasure, second in western riding and second in horsemanship.

It isn't surprising that the soon-to-be Highland High School senior brought home the awards. What is surprising is how she won them -- on a 4-year-old mare that fell on her leg more than two years ago, breaking Redwine's leg and causing her to undergo five surgeries.

Redwine was practicing with Bandit, a horse her family had purchased for showing when the horse was 16 months old, for a western pleasure class, a slow, collected riding class, at an arena of a family friend May 19, 2004, when the accident happened.

"Doogie (Fisher, her mother's boyfriend) said to have her stop and back up because she wasn't listening to me," Redwine said.

Redwine attempted to stop the horse but had problems.

"She resisted and then went back fast and slipped and fell to the side on top of me," Redwine said.

"Tiffany still had hold of the reigns as she slid off the back of the horse. The horse continued to go back and then fell sideways right on Tiffany's leg," said Redwine's mother, Shelly Redwine.

Redwine's right leg was numb and turned inward. The mare, now standing, stayed by her side, Shelly Redwine said.

"The mare never moved," she said. "She just stared at the ground where Tiffany had landed."

Redwine was rushed to White River Medical Center in Batesville.

She stayed in the hospital five days and underwent two surgeries.

"The first five days Tiffany was in the hospital Bandit refused to eat," Shelly Redwine said. "Our horseshoer watched the horse for us and was upset because he couldn't be with Tiffany and then upset because he couldn't get the horse to eat."

When Redwine returned home she went to the pasture to see her friend. Bandit soon began eating again, Shelly Redwine said.

"I kept saying, 'It's OK. Don't do anything stupid,'" Redwine said.

Redwine had made it over the first hurdle but there were more hurdles on the way. A follow-up appointment with Dr. Jeff Angel revealed more bad news.

"I got scared when Dr. Angel told me I wasn't finished healing," Redwine said.

Redwine underwent another surgery, followed by two more, one to place metal plates in her leg and another for bone grafts.

With a moon boot on her leg, Redwine got back on Bandit 14 months later.

"I have a phobia," Redwine said. "Doogie says when she does something wrong I don't get on to her. I'm beginning to do better."

"I think the horse remembers what happened and is scared of Tiffany riding her," Shelly Redwine said. "I'll put it this way -- she minds Tiffany a lot better than she does the rest of us."

Though she is cautious, Redwine believes practice makes perfect.

She trained with Bandit for the events she competed in during the district 4-H competition. Redwine still wears an ankle brace when she is competing.

Senior trail competition is an obstacle course on horseback. Western pleasure requires horses to walk, trot and lope and requires the rider to change leads on the horse and directions of travel. Western riding is another obstacle course with lead changes. Horsemanship competition consists of a pattern the judge draws out that the rider must follow with the horse.

Although Redwine said she is pleased with her performance in all her events, she is most pleased with being named high point champion and senior queen.

In senior queen the young women can earn up to 50 points for horsemanship, 25 points for appearance, 25 points for interview regarding knowledge of equine and 25 points for speech. Redwine's speech was personal this year -- how 4-H has helped her become active in the community.

Redwine began riding horses at the age of 2 when she would ride with her mother on the back of a barrel horse.

"They would call her my little horsefly," her mother said.

Redwine joined Ruff Riders 4-H with leader Nancy Orr when she was 9 and began competing.

"My aunt had been in it and my mom kind of pushed me into it," she said.

She was named junior queen in 2003 on her horse, Taco, the late Talena Armstead's horse. Armstead died in a car wreck in late 2002 while on her way to help 4-H with the Ash Flat Christmas parade, Redwine said.

"I basically did that for her (Talena)," Redwine said. "I wore her favorite color, hot pink. I couldn't believe I had won. I guess she was just wishing me good luck."

Redwine doesn't consider 4-H a duty but a privilege. She serves as vice president of the club and performs community service with club members and on her own.

Through 4-H Redwine has shown "every animal imaginable," including cows, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and horses, she said.

Even while she was injured Redwine was still determined to make it to the 4-H competitions. In 2004 she went to the state competition on crutches and to district in a wheelchair where she would lead horses into the arena.

Redwine is hoping her luck will hold out for a while. She will compete in the state competition in July. She plans to enter the reining competition at that time with Bandit. Competitors are required to have their horses make a figure eight, speed up, slow down, switch leads, back up, spin and pivot.

If Redwine wins at state, she will go on to be recognized at the state fair as the 4-H representative.

She is "mostly" an honor roll student. Redwine is ranked 11th in her class with a 3.75 GPA.

"I usually do good the first term and then at the last term I end up with a C in something," she said.

Redwine plans to attend the University of Missouri in Columbia after she graduates from high school. She hopes to become a veterinarian.

"Animals are what I know and what I love. I think it's just because I've been raised around it," she said.

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