To say Savanna and Jessi Rhodes were raised on horseback is an understatement but considering their family history it’s completely understandable.
“I’ve been on a horse since day one,” said Savanna. “Since I could walk they put me on a horse.”
Their father, David, is a ferrier, and mother, Carla, and sister, Casi, both participate in competitive riding so it was only natural for the two younger girls to follow suit. They both are members of Chickasaw County 4H where they are active in horse competitions and also compete in open activies throughout the year. Their niece and nephew, Pazli and Rhodes, are following quickly behind.
“Barrel race, pole bending, stake race, quads, arena race, flag race,” Savanna listed her events, adding barrel racing and quads are her favorites. “They have more action.”
“I’ve always rode,” Jessi said, listing her favorite events as poles, barrels and quads. “You’ve got to have an awesome horse for poles. Some horses don’t have any bend and can’t balance.”
The girls both feel they have awesome horses now and are both currently training new mounts.
“My first horse, Jamie, was pretty much trained when I got him,” Savanna said. “I’m training Sally now and we’re learning from experience. It takes time and patience.”
Jessi is currently running Grace and working with Alpha.
“We call it clicking when the horse and rider get together,” Jessi said. “Right now, we’re trying to get together.”
The girls are following expert advice during the training period.
“Daddy’s motto is, ‘Always walk them until they can do it in their sleep,'” Jessi said.
This summer they have been busy with several competitions and events.
“There’s the District 4H show, then State 4H, then Regionals,” Jessi said. “But I don’t know if we’ll go to Regionals because that’s vacation week.”
Taking a break?
The family will take their annual vacation at a destination that includes – what else – horses.
“The Neshoba County Fair,” said Jessi. “It’s the best vacation anybody can take.”
The girls touted activities like fair rides, trips to Geyser Falls, live music, water balloon fights and visiting with their “fair family” as draws to their vacation destination.
“I’ll take it over the beach any day,” Savanna said.
Savanna, 17, and Jessi, 13, are starting to look toward their futures and both are leaning toward careers that involve their favorite animals.
“After graduation, I want to go to Louisiana and become a jockey,” Savanna said. “I’ll start as a groomsman and work my way up.”
Jessi is interested in becoming a veterinarian, “and I want to go to Louisiana Downs.”