Carbondale girl wins a pair of state titles |

Carbondale girl wins a pair of state titles

Jon Mitchell
Post Independent Sports Editor
Darcy Copeland /
Darcy Copeland |

Josie Morford of Carbondale won a pair of gymkhana state championships this past weekend, claiming a pair of titles not long after winning singular state crowns in previous years.

Morford, 13, claimed the state championships at the Colorado State 4-H Horse Show at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, winning the state title in the Jim Connor Event and the Working Ranch Horse Event. She went to the state fairgrounds last year and didn’t win a title, but won a state crown in the Working Ranch Horse Event in 2010 and the Jim Connor Event in 2011.

Gymkhana is a term used to describe an equestrian event consisting of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders on horses. The events usually promote participation by children, and 4-H clubs usually organize it.

Morford’s horse, officially named 7-S Black Leo but affectionately known by Morford as “JB,” is a 16-year-old former ranch horse turned show horse. Morford’s family owned him for a while, sold him and bought him back not long afterward, with the equestrian events following not long after the purchase.

Morford has spent time training with JB ever since then, and the companionship the pair have made has played a huge part in the success which came during the weekend.

“I just love working with him and training with him,” Morford said of JB. “After all of these hours that I’ve put into training him and the time that we’ve spent working together, it’s amazing knowing that all of this hard work has paid off.”

The Jim Connor Event combines scores from barrel racing, pole bending and flag racing, combining the times from each event to determine the winner. The Working Ranch Horse Event combines sections like cow cutting, horse and tip and ranch trail where, like the Jim Connor Event, the events are combined to form a cumulative score.

Morford never won a section in either event, but her finishes were good enough to give her the best combined finish twice.

And, Morford said, she owes a lot of it to JB.

“He can do it all,” Morford said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime horse.”

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