Sydney Cheong of Los Angeles earned the American Morgan Horse Association's Reserve Champion Youth of the Year honor, with Mackenzie Meier of Kansas named Champion. The AMHA's Youth of the Year Contest took place at this year's Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show®, held
Oct. 12-19 at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.
The contestants participated in a rigorous four-part test throughout the course of two days. Included were a written exam, an oral presentation and interview, a ridden or driven horsemanship pattern, and a judging division with a reasons portion.
The winner earned a custom-designed awards package valued at $2,500 and is generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust. Meier placed first in the oral presentation, written exam, and the judging division, and received second place in the horsemanship pattern. Cheong also was in the ribbons, winning the Horsemanship Pattern division. She also has earned a custom-designed awards package for her accomplishment.
Cheong is a senior at Harvard-Westlake School.
"I am so excited to win Reserve Youth of the Year!" Cheong said. "My main goal is to promote awareness about this amazing breed of horse so that it may grow and others can enjoy all that these horses have to offer as well. The Morgan horse world has given me so much; I am truly honored that it has given me this opportunity as Reserve Youth of the Year, too."
Each year, dozens of youth contests are held across the country, hosted by horse shows, state Morgan clubs and local youth groups. The Youth of the Year program offers participants an opportunity to improve his or her skills in the area of horsemanship, sportsmanship, public speaking, decision-making and judging.
Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a non-profit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 100 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national service organizations.
For more information on the AMHA at www.morganhorse.com.
2013 Horse & Hound Pony Medal Final Champions
Skye Bolen and Tommy Bahama. Photo: Deb Dawson
Horse & Hound Victors
Junior rider Skye Bolen proved that hard work and determination can be more than just a cliche with her performance in the Horse & Hound Pony Finals, held during the mid-Oct. show in Sacramento. Winning both the first and second rounds, and ultimately the medal final itself, Skye took no prisoners aboard Tommy Bahama (Georgia Storm, owner). Riding and training with Cassie Belmont, Skye had a win that held special significance. After taking a few months off due to health reasons, Skye returned happy, healthy and poised for the big victory at the Murieta Autumn Classic. With Bolen's win, she received a brand new Mac Book Air laptop computer, as well as a Championship Cooler.
2013 Horse & Hound Jr/Am Medal Final Champion
Danae Evrigenis. Photo: Deb Dawson
Danae Evrigenis shared in the fun when she took home a Mac Book Air of her own by winning the Horse & Hound 3' Jr/Am Final. A student of Patty Ball's, Danae had already had a successful week, with wins in the Amateur Equitation and the A/A Hunters, as well as the final Horse & Hound Jr/Am qualifier earlier in the week. Continuing a streak which had started the week before with a win in the Carolyn Day Horsemanship class, Danae made sure to end her 2013 show season memorably. Her mount for the Final, Luciano (Haley Webster, owner), helped guide her to the second place spot in round one, and win the second round, sending them into the work-off in the top spot. The pair maintained their lead in the work-off, sealing their fate as leaders of the victory gallop.
Horse & Hound founder Wendy Machin was on hand for the Finals, helping to distribute great prizes to the top 10 finishers. Congratulations to all of the riders who competed in the Horse & Hound Finals this year, making the event a fabulous conclusion to the show season in Northern California.