MARIOTT-SLATERVILLE -- It's hard to miss how 17-year-old Morgan Rich feels about a 2-year-old horse she's training.
She's always patting the horse, which she named Andy. She laughs at his actions and even snuggles up to him.
It's easy to see why the Harrisville girl named the 4-H club she built around the bay quarter horse, "For the Love of Andy."
"I'm not scared of young horses," Morgan said. "They are babies and I am big."
Since last fall, Rich has led five other 4-H members in an effort to lay the groundwork necessary for Andy to become a trustworthy mount for a buyer next month. All the proceeds from the sale will go to support the Weber County 4-H program.
Andy is named after Andy Fishburn, an internationally known quarter horse trainer stationed at Heritage Ranch in Farr West.
Fishburn donated the registered quarter horse, officially named Invitation to Change, because he didn't believe he was as perfectly put together as required for the nation's top shows. But those involved in the project say the horse is perfect for where he is.
"I don't think he's a world-class competitor," said Kathy Borrett Capell, who has donated Andy's upkeep for a year to Morgan and the Weber County 4-H. "He's just a nice horse."
Capell said the horse, which is out of the mare Zippo Pine Bar, had a head that was too large for his body a year ago. But things have changed. He has grown both in body and mind.
Now Morgan calls him "Mr. Roid" because he's filled out so much.
And Capell said the horse has learned to have patience with his young trainers.
"The kids have made mistakes and he's been forgiving," Capell said.
She told a story about the first time Morgan actually sat in a saddle on the horse's back.
Expecting Morgan to know that she needed to just start out with a walk the first day, Capell said she walked away from the pair.
"I hear this crumble," Capell said. "Oh, we were cantering," she recalls hearing from Morgan.
"Andy stumbled. They went head over heels. He was just standing there looking at her like 'Are you OK?' "
But Morgan said she's learned well from mistakes, as well as successes.
Now the horse can do all his gaits and can pivot. He lunges and is well-versed at going through whatever obstacle course Morgan wants to set up for him, with logs to go over and corridors to squeeze through.
On Tuesday, he backed through an "L" of logs for the first time.
Morgan and her training helpers have had the horse walk over, be touched by and work around tarps in all kinds of settings to teach him not to be afraid.
Members of Morgan's 4-H club said they've learned important lessons from Andy.
"It gave me experience for working with other horses," said Katie Short, 14, of West Haven. "He was fun. He was cute."
"I liked seeing him go from a little crazy, wild baby to actually paying attention to you," said Ashley Hansen, 15, of Harrisville. "It's been cool to learn how horses adjust to things."
Because of what she learned from Andy and another young horse she's now showing, Morgan has started a young horse training business of her own.
She already has one client's horse at her home that she is riding nearly every day.
Her Andy project also has served as a steppingstone for Morgan to become a Weber County 4-H horse ambassador, then a county ambassador and finally a state ambassador, which comes with a scholarship to Utah State University after she graduates from high school.
Morgan will be showing Andy next week at the Weber County Fair.
Although a gelding, the horse will be featured at Stallion Alley, where fair-goers may stop by his decorated stall and get a look at him.
Morgan also will be showing him off each day at 4 p.m. at the end of a daily parade of stallions and during an open breed show.
The horse will be sold at auction during a third annual 4-H Barbecue and Concert, called a harvest celebration, planned for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at Sandridge Park, 4400 S. 2100 West, Roy.
The event includes a 7:30 p.m. performance by the local band Western Saddle Strings. Tickets are $10 and are available from Weber County 4-H members or by visiting the Utah State University Extension office at 1181 N. Fairgrounds Drive, Ogden, or calling at 801-399-8202.