Hixton brother/sister team carry flags on horseback during National Anthem

By Lori Johnson

HIXTON - For those who enjoy rodeos and other horse related events, one of the most patriotic and heart grabbing moments is when the national anthem is played and riders carry the American flag around the arena.

A dream came true for Caiden and Kelsey Lien, children of Bill and Jenni Lien of Hixton as they did the honors at a gymkhana held on September 19 in Boaz, near Richland Center, WI. They do the national anthem with the flags before the start of the show every week and at one show Caiden asked if he could carry the flag (he had asked at other shows and when the family rode in a parade too so it has been something he's been wanting to do).

It takes more than concentration and good balance to achieve this. First they had to get Caiden's horse Chance used to the flag. The first time the flag was brought to the trailer, it was a complete no - go - she snorted and backed away. So back at home, an old flag was placed at the end of a broomstick where Chance could get used to it. Caiden worked 30 minutes at a time 2 or 3 times a week, working his way up to trotting and running with the flag.

When their cousin Brielle found out they were doing it she loaned her flag carrier - which is a leather cup you can attach to the stirrup and put the end of the flag in and there were several practice runs before the big event. Since Kelsey and her horse were more experienced they did not need as much training but both greatly enjoyed the experience.

A proud moment for this brother/sister team in their flag carrying debut.

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