Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Dan Lingle
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Barnum grad joins U of M equestrian team


Dan Lingle

Miriah Parker, a 2014 Barnum High School graduate, shows her horse during this summer's Carlton County Fair.

Miriah Parker encountered many difficulties as she grew and matured through the years. At 4½ days old, doctors and nurses worked feverishly to revive her as she struggled to breathe as a preemie with RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus).

Miriah was forced to grow and mature early as many other situations arose, from one or both parents struggling with medical issues to the horrific barn fire that tragically claimed the life of the family dog (Annie May Parker) and Miriah's pony (Sweet Verdenia). As a result, Miriah wanted nothing to do with becoming close to a horse for a few years.

Miriah's interest in veterinary medicine developed early when she came home alone one afternoon to find her cat struggling to give birth to a litter of kittens. Miriah took control of the situation and helped the cat deliver a breach baby.

Miriah's love for horses returned with the purchase of "Little Foot" whom she rode for two years. Miriah was used to being around horses and not afraid of climbing up on strange horses at sales to show how well she could ride. She then wanted a larger horse and cousin Jerry Jerde found her Jethro. Jethro was a previously abused horse with no 4-H show training. He was the animal Miriah fell in love with.

In 2011, Miriah was chosen to represent Barnum in the Miss Teen of America Scholarship and Recognition Program and received the Special Achievement Award. Three days later, she broke her back in two places in a horrific vehicle accident. She was in a body cast for seven months.

Then, slowly, Miriah started to work with Jethro and taught him to do all that she wanted to compete in 4-H. Jethro gave his whole heart and soul to her and together they made the perfect team.

In the four years Miriah participated in 4-H, she advanced to state twice, competing with competitors from all 87 counties in Minnesota. In 2013, Miriah placed 10th in the jumping figure 8, and in 2014, Miriah won the all-around state trip that allowed her to compete in all her blue ribbon events. Miriah placed seventh in the key hole event and 10th in the jumping figure 8. At the time, Miriah had just started classes at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and during the state 4-H competition, she had the opportunity to try out for the U of M equestrian team. But even that was a struggle.

As the time approached for her to try out for the U of M team in Stillwater, she was still waiting to complete her 4-H events. Miriah had to make the very difficult decision to contact the coach for the university. She thanked her for the opportunity but said she wouldn't be able to attend tryouts because the 4-H events were running behind schedule and she could not leave her responsibilities as a representative of Carlton County 4-H.

Without Miriah's knowledge, the coach for the university's equestrian team drove from Stillwater to the state fairgrounds coliseum to watch Miriah compete. A short time later, Miriah received a text from the coach of the U of M equestrian team inviting Miriah to join the team.

The team consists of two groups, English and Western. Miriah joined the Western team on the Intermediate 2 level, among the top riders. In Miriah's first competition on October 26, she placed sixth.

Miriah was a continuous member of the Barnum High School "A" honor roll and was a member of National Honor Society. She was also involved in Key Club, yearbook staff, band and choir. She volunteered at North Country Ride in Esko. Miriah was very active in high school sports until her senior year when she focused on her studies, allowing her to begin her first year at the University of Minnesota midway through her sophomore year.

Miriah is currently taking 17 credits, working hard at the U of M dairy barn and looking forward to competing in her last year of 4-H.


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