Have a story you want to share on the blog? We'd love to hear from you.

Contact youth@arabianhorses.org 



Managing Horses and School
  • By Gigi Hurst
  • December 2016

Many youth today are into equestrian sports. But, after some time, many youth find it hard to balance schoolwork and riding at the same time. It can be hard to find time to ride your horse, deal with all the home work and the drama of high school. Horses take a lot of time and hard work to ensure they are well cared for and everything else in between. Horses can teach you great time management, but it can still be hard to get that homework done after long days at the barn. Some days are more exhausting then others, but regardless everyday spent at the barn is tiring.


As a high school student myself, I can relate to these issues. I know how hard it can be to balance horses with academics. Riding on the weekends can take the pressure off a little, but there is always that lingering pressure to get your homework done. It is always hanging around! In saying this, it can also be hard to find the drive to get out of the house and get to the barn.


For many young equestrians, a trip to the barn can be a release from the stressful world of school and daily chorse. Between the constant 3-4 (or more) hours of homework every night and the daily chorses of cleaning your room and helping clean up or make dinner, it can really be difficult to get out to the barn, especially when it is far away. Many equestrians ride on the weekends so that they can get their homework done and help out around the house. I ride on the weekends most of the time, but I have noticed that by about Thursday I really need a break and it can be rough having to wait until Saturday. I know many other equestrians feel this way too.

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So, to manage the daily house chorse and homeowrk and of course the horses, I have noticed that proper time management is key to getting everything done and still having time to have fun with the horses. Horses can teach you how to manage your time, especially if you have more than one to ride. They can teach you to not waste a second in the day. This can help you with the homework load by teaching you to get any work done in a timely manner, but still have it be thorough and detailed. These skills are a crucial part of growing up and making sure the daily tasks get done. When you get older and have to get a job and are still into horses, but have to work 9-5 everyday, time management can help make sure everything gets done, and it helps make time for the horses.


 So, in closing, it can be difficult to manage everyday tasks, homework, and horses, but always remember, your horses will always be at the barn waiting to see your bright and shining face! Happy Holidays to all, and make sure you give your Arabian Horse a hug!


About the Author
Gigi Hurst is the 2016-2017 Region 3 Youth Vice Director

Have a story you want to share on the blog? We’d love to hear from you; contact youth@arabianhorses.org today!




Every Little Girl's Dream
  • By Kailey Wessel
  • December 2016

It's what every little girl dreas for, you ask everry year and one day you might recieve it: a horse for Christmas! But how do you convince your parents it's the right gift to get you this year?



There are so many reasons a horse is beneficial to children as they grow up into young adults. By owning a horse at a young age, children are able to develop themselves into better future citizens. Having a horse builds character, creating more responsible, and more universally aware young adults. Kids are constantly required to take care of an animal and friend that is completely dependent on their love and dedication. Kids have to learn to read behaviors of horses which further helps them to read the behaviors of those around them as well.


Children with horses are also more self aware and often more confident than children who are not involved in the equestrian lifestyle. Children learning to ride become more aware about their emtions, as they can translate to the horse that they are riding, and in turn, they learn to radiate confidence that may have been harder to find within themselves without their fuzzy four-legged partner.


As kids grow up, the barn proves to be a safe place for them, and provides many role models and lifelong friends. Having people to look up to and to play with that share theeir same passions and interests, allows kids to grow up in a happier environment. As they grow into young adults, they are able to become the role model and friend they had as a child.

So if you think you might need some back-up this year as you ask for that Arabian horse, or any horse this Christmas, throw in some facts about the benefits of horses to seal the deal! Have a Merry Christmas, and go give your horse a Happy Holiday Hug!

About the Author
Kailey Wessel is the 2016-2017 Region 3 Youth Director

Have a story you want to share on the blog? We’d love to hear from you; contact youth@arabianhorses.org today!


Mr. and Ms. Region 10
  • By Hunter Offord
  • August 2016

AHYA_Blog2016-08_pic2 BorderOn Friday and Saturday of Region 10 Regionals the Youth Directors held the Mr. and Ms. Region 10 competition. This competition was held as a fundraiser for the Arabian Horse Foundation. The Youth Directors made posters for each nominee showing the total amount of votes next to their pictures. Exhibitors nominated their favorite person of the Region by providing a money donation.  We had ten people who received nominations. We held voting for these people until noon on Saturday.  Then before the evening session we announced the winners and had the crowning.  With 414 votes our winner and Mr. Region 10 was Dan McConaughey. Our runner-up with 122 votes and Miss Region 10 was Madison Rose.  Finally our 2nd Runner-up was Tom Theisen with 100 votes. We also had nominations for Lara Ames, Kevin Price, Nate Soderberg, Chuck Rickart, Jordan LeFever, Bob and Val Gordon, and Jody Hoffman. The Region 10 Youth Directors would like to thank everyone who supported the fundraiser by donating or volunteering! We made over $1,800 for the Arabian Horse Foundation!



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About the Author
Hunter Offord is the 2016-2017 Region 10 Youth Director

Have a story you want to share on the blog? We’d love to hear from you; contact youth@arabianhorses.org today!



Eventful Month of July!
  • By Flora ElmColone
  • July 2016

It’s been an eventful month for AHYA! Youth Nationals was in July, and it was the first year in Oklahoma City. It was the first year at a new venue so everyone was trying to adjust to a place many of us had never competed at before. Although change can be difficult, I encourage you all to stay positive and think about how lucky we are to be at Youth Nationals!


AHYA Convention was on Friday the 22. We had two amazing guest speakers—thank you to Kathie Hart and Gayle Lampe for excellent presentations! I had the honor of being elected your new AHYA President. This is something I’ve worked towards for so long and I can’t wait to serve you all this upcoming year! Serving alongside me on the 2016-2017 AHYA Executive Board is Kate Lewis (Region 11) as Vice President, Danika Overstreet (Region 5) as Secretary, and Tessa Kimbler (Region 6) as Treasurer. I couldn’t be more excited to get to work with such hardworking people!


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One of the great things about AHYA is how diverse of a board we have. Tessa Kimbler, our new Treasurer, competes in the Endurance division and completed the Tevis Cup in 2014. Kate Lewis, our new Vice President has experience showing in the Sport Horse division, and Danika Overstreet has competed on her Regional Youth Judging team as well as showing in main ring. I would also like to thank our outgoing Executive Board (on which I was Secretary): Taylor Kyse, 2015-2016 President, Emily Barker, 2015-2016 Vice President and Sydney Young, 2015-2016 Treasurer for doing such a fantastic job running AHYA!


On Sunday the 24 we had the annual Parade of Regions. As always it was a fun way to connect with other youth members and show some team spirit for our regions! Congratulations to Region 5 for winning the contest with their rhythmic gymnastics themed golf cart. The pink flamingo flocks made their way all around the showgrounds again, from the Judges’ Lounge to the Performance Arena to many vendors and barns. Pigs flew into center ring with the Flying Pigs contest, which always brings friendly and fun competition. Although I may not have gone Top Ten, or won National Champion, I made some cuts and had some good rides. My horse and I grew as a team, and that’s all I can really ask for! I look forward to Youth Nationals all year, as I’m sure many of you do, and to be there, making friendships that will last a lifetime and bonds that will never be forgotten, was the best thing I could have asked for!


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Backtracking a little bit, our Region 2 Championship show was in late June. Although I am from Region 2 and am the former director, Region 2 has a new director, Natalie Zavala! Natalie did an awesome job planning activities for Region 2 and it makes me so happy to be able to stay involved on the Regional level with such a passionate and talented director! Natalie put together a silent auction which raised over $1,000, and had some other exciting fundraisers such as the annual Region 2 Ice Cream Social! Some of these proceeds will go towards sending our Region 2 Youth Judging Team to Tulsa, Oklahoma in October to compete in the youth judging contest at U.S. Nationals. Traveling to Tulsa will be Region 2 members Natalie Zavalla, Danielle Garcia (Region 2 Vice Director), Kate Day, and Sophia Hoxworth. Good luck, girls!


For most of us, show season 2015-2016 is coming to a close. As we say goodbye to another great season, I wish you all the best of luck in show season 2016-2017!


If anyone has questions about how to get involved with the AHYA Board or what it entitles, feel free to email me at flora.elmcolone@gmail.com or text me at (805)325-3983!


About the Author
Flora ElmColone is the 2016-2017 AHYA President

Have a story you want to share on the blog? We’d love to hear from you; contact youth@arabianhorses.org today!


2016 American Youth Horse Council Symposium - Lexington, KY
  • By Taylor Kyse
  • April 2016

The American Youth Council Symposium of 2016 was filled with fun and enlightening learning experiences. Lexington, Kentucky was an excellent place for the symposium to be held because of all the locations one can go to in order to learn and experience the versatility of horses.


The event started at 4:30 AM on Friday morning for Emily, Brenna and myself. Our first stop of the day was to Keeneland to watch the racehorses exercise. We even saw a couple horses running against each other. We then headed back to the hotel for our second adventure of the day; and it was only 7:30 AM! We loaded the bus and headed to our next stop at Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center. I was overwhelmed by the facility and all of its resources to help rehabilitate horses. At one point I had wanted to work at or own an equine rehabilitation center like KESMARC.  I had never seen an equine swimming pool before and I found it interesting how natural it was for a horse to swim. The facility had many other systems to rehabilitate the horses, but one that I found remarkable that I hadn’t known existed was the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. It was a round room that one horse would fit in at a time for about an hour and the chamber would fill with oxygen, helping improve the lungs and circulation of the horse.

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After KESMARC, we then headed to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital. Until the trip, I had not known about Rood & Riddle. We saw surgeries being conducted, which surprisingly did not make me woozy. We also saw all the parts of the hospital including the recovery rooms, the MRI machine, the x-ray room, and the workout area for recovering horses. It is an amazing equine hospital. After lunch, we headed to Blue Willow Farm and watched demonstrations of their horses and what they do. I was surprised by how similar a Morgan halter horse is to an Arabian halter horse, though I know they aren’t completely the same. The owner of the facility was wonderful and explained everything in detail so we knew what we were watching and looking for throughout the demonstrations. We then headed to Shadwell farm and learned about their Thoroughbred breeding program and saw the stunning facility as well as a few of their stallions on the campus. We then headed back to the hotel and ate dinner and heard from a wonderful speaker, Patti Colbert. After dinner, we discussed in small groups with others what the issues are and what should be done regarding youth membership and getting others to start riding and competing. We learned a lot about other associations and clubs on what they are doing for the situation. Day one was filled well.


The next day, Saturday, we had breakfast while listening to the happenings of the day. Everyone then broke out to attend three consecutive sessions. The first session we attended was “Helping Horse Industry Youth Find the ‘Right Fit’ in matching Equine Interests to College Choice Options.” Though we are already in college, Emily and I learned about other colleges and what the descriptions of the equine majors within the colleges are. I believe it was helpful to know so we can better understand and explain to younger horse enthusiasts what to expect and look for when looking at colleges. The next session we attended was “internships and Their Impact on Your Equine Career.” The last session of the day was “30 Seconds to Land Your Dream Job.” It helped Emily and I come to a better understanding of what employers want, especially relating to the equine world. Emily and I are proud of ourselves because we learned that our resumes are built pretty nicely!


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After the sessions were completed for the day, buses started to leave for the Kentucky Horse Park. When we got to the park, we got to watch the Interscholastic Horse Show Nationals. And oh man, the IEA is definitely different than our Arabian shows! Not only was the show fun and interesting to watch the competition, but we were able to enjoy a pizza party and walk around the booths surrounding the arena.  We then walked around the park and saw the Al-Marah Arabian Horse exhibit, which is a wonderful display of the Arabian horse. And of course, we hit the gift shop. Brenna, Emily and I then went on a little adventure of our own to the Churchill Downs. It was absolutely gorgeous, and I plan on going there to watch a race one day when I graduate college and then get rich. That’s how it works, right?


We then headed back for the dinner. We had some delicious food and heard some wonderful speakers. We then heard from Bernie Traurig who talked about his life in the horse industry and how he believes that off-the-track Thoroughbreds are the best way to be competitive in the industry in comparison to importing Warmbloods from Europe. We also had some delicious cake for dessert and then ended our Saturday night.Sunday morning we heard another inspirational speech by Rebecca Bott. She talked about her experiences of traveling the world and helping provide healthcare for families’ horses in the poverty-stricken countries and taught the families how to provide and care correctly for their horses. She explained how only 1% of the world’s veterinarians are in the countries she attended. The horses these families own are the families’ main and biggest source of income; so she provided the healthcare so these families can live better lives and have healthier horses. It is amazing what one person can do. Following the speech, we learned about where next year’s AYHC Symposium is going to be, Danvers, Massachusetts. There are some awesome things planned for next year.


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We then broke out into our last sessions of the weekend. The first of the two sessions we attended was about what jobs are actually in the horse industry, hands-on and hands-off. The speaker, Sarah Coleman discussed how if you love horses and it is your passion, you want to be careful not to lose that passion by working hands-on every day and then you get sick of horses. Sarah discussed how she was in the hands-off industry and explained some of her amazing experiences as an editor for equestrian magazines and other companies. One of her points that I took to heart was that any degree can get you involved in the equine industry one way or another. Some degrees are more involved than others, so still be selective with what you want to do. After Sarah’s discussion, we heard from Jen Roytz who discussed the equine marketing business and the effects of social media, the good and the bad. We learned what an employer, as she was one, would look for when hiring. She also explained her experiences as a horsewoman and how she remained employed in equine business since college. The biggest thing I took away from her discussion was that the equine world is all about communication and connections. And never make anyone mad. Every week she would spend time writing notes to people she had met previously or recently thanking them for what they did for her and for what she learned. She concluded this by saying it was extremely easy for her to find employment after college because of her connections and because she wrote those notes.


In the third session of the morning, Brenna, Emily, and I presented on TAIL tours. We received a lot of interest during the session. We also got asked a lot of questions. I believe it was important for us to speak on TAIL tours because other breeds, associations, and clubs can form the same type of tour for their competitions, exhibitions, etc. We received excellent feedback and it was good recognition for the Arabian breed.


The weekend was then over. I am sad for the AYHC Symposium to be completed, but I feel that I am now a wealth of knowledge after just three days. I am sincerely grateful for having this experience to travel and see an important part of our horse industry. Thank you AHA for giving me this experience. As an AHYA member, I feel that this weekend is important for our youth. Having sent Emily and I as youth representatives, I know we will follow through and teach what we have learned and will make AHA proud.


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About the Author
Taylor Kyse was the 2015-2016 AHYA President

Have a story you want to share on the blog? We’d love to hear from you; contact youth@arabianhorses.org today!


Becoming an Equestrian Olympic Athlete
  • By Kelsey McMahan
  • April 2016

The Summer Olympic Games in Rio are coming up, which means viewers around the globe are tuning in to  the biggest sports competition on Earth.  As equestrians, we are particularly biased towards the eventing, dressage, and show jumping.  As a little girl, I watched the beautiful horses and riders glide over jumps, perform incredible tasks, and leap over ponds of water.  I don’t know about you, but I wanted to join those prestigious riders.  Being on the United States Equestrian Olympic team is the one of the biggest honors an equestrian can receive.  So how do you become a competitor?  I researched this question and found that, unsurprisingly, it is extremely difficult.


Most of us have loved horses since we were young: some of us riding before we could walk and some of us begging our parents for just one lesson - both leading to an endless love affair with horses.  Just like us, the equestrian Olympians have loved horses for most of their lives.  So how do you become an Olympic hopeful?  Starting young.  Being involved with your local 4-H is a good place to start.  As you grow older, joining a show barn and starting to show in small schooling shows or open show circuits in order to start gaining experience is key.  A dedicated, talented, and supportive trainer could make the difference between you getting a chance to be an option for the Olympic team or not.  If your high school or college offers an equestrian team, join it!  These opportunities will give you more exposure, thus more of a chance of being picked up by a recruiter.


After having a sufficiently successful show career, riders move on to the Young Riders Programs, offered throughout North America and are open to all youth riders from ages 14 to 21.  The Federation Equestre Internationale, or FEI, is the governing body for the Olympic Equestrian team.  Young Riders offers different levels of competition in all FEI recognized sports and is an introduction to what riding under FEI will look like.  The riders learn how to abide to their rules, how to dress, and the expectations of riding in international competitions.  The best of the best qualify to compete in The North American Junior and Young Riders Championships and are invited to compete by their equestrian federation including the USA Equestrian Zone for show jumping, the USDF Region for dressage, and the USEA Area for eventing.  Some top competitions are the Pan-Am and Commonwealth Games and other Grand-Prix and high level events in Europe and other parts of the world.  Young Riders is an essential and critical point to becoming a part of the United States Equestrian Team.  From here, you will have to prove your worth by placing consistently and high in the most difficult competitions such as Rolex and Badminton. 


After proving yourself, the best riders are chosen to be on the national team.  First, they create a long list and then depending on points and other factors, a short list is created.  From this pool of riders, the elite are chosen to compete at the World Championships and the Olympics.


So how can you achieve this with your Arabian horse?  The possibilities of a purebred Arabian going to the Olympics is slim, but the chance of an Anglo-Arabian or Half-Arabian competing is quite possible.  Due to them being mixed with warmbloods, their chances of going to the Olympics are greater.  The breeds that usually attend the show jumping portion are the Belgian Warmblood, Dutch Warmblood, Hanovarian, Holsteiner, Oldenburg, Selle Francais, Swedish Warmblood, and Westphalian.  Popular eventing horses are the Anglo-Arabian, Belgian Warmblood, Dutch Warmblood, Hanovarian, Holsteiner, Irish Sport Horse, Selle Francais, Swiss Warmblood, and Thoroughbred.  In the dressage arena, you may find the Andalusian, Danish Warmblood, Hanovarian, Lusitano, Oldenburg, and Westphalian.  Anglo-Arabians and Half-Arabians are used for their endurance in the eventing division over the long courses.


If you work hard enough and climb the ranks of all the riders in the country, the Olympics could be in your future.

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About the Author
Kelsey McMahan is a current youth member in Region 7

Have a story you want to share on the blog? We’d love to hear from you; contact youth@arabianhorses.org today!


Famous Arabian Horses
  • By Kailey Wessel
  • March 2016

Arabian horses have been getting plenty of attention in the news and social media lately! The first was Lady Gaga, if you can believe it! Like all of us, even this extravagant celebrity was wishing for a “pony” for Christmas, and her wish finally came true when she received a beautiful Arabian mare from her record label! She has since posted a multitude of pictures on her social media pages, adoring her Arabian!


AHYA_Blog2016-03.4_pic2 BorderShortly after Lady Gaga’s passion for Arabians was revealed, another Arabian horse took the spotlight on national news and television. The most respected horse in all of America is a part of our wonderful breed, you know who I’m talking about; Thunder, from the Denver Broncos! Thunder made his appearances to steal the hearts of people all over the country on Good Morning America as well as leading the Denver Bronco’s out onto the field at the Superbowl! He made an appearance at my barn, Reno-Tahoe Equestrian Centre on the way to Levi Stadium, and was greeted by over 40 people, bouncing in their boots at the chance to meet our Arabian celebrity!


AHYA_Blog2016-03.4_pic3 BorderAnother well-known celebrity involved in the Arabian horse community is… I’ll give you a hint: tall, brown hair, and famous for the movie Dirty Dancing… That’s right, Patrick Swayze! Surprisingly, Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi, were both horse enthusiasts growing up; and, shortly after they married, they bought their first Arabian horse. And get this, in his first year of showing the western pleasure horse, he received a Regional Top 5 and a National Top 10! Not only did Swayze own multiple Arabian show horses but he also owned a few non-Arabian trail horses to enjoy when he was not acting or showing. Sadly this Arabian enthusiast’s life was cut short when he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2009, but his last days were spent surrounded by his loving, beautiful horses.


You may not be a renowned singer or actor, and you may never get to ride at the Superbowl, but always remember this: to your horse, you will always be the most exciting, caring, and famous person they’ll ever meet.  Now, do me a favor, and go give your Arabian horse a hug!


Until next time,

About the Author
Kailey Wessel is the current Region 3 Youth Director

Have a story you want to share on the blog? We’d love to hear from you; contact youth@arabianhorses.org today!



What Happened at the NW EquestFest?
  • By Danika Overstreet
  • January 2016

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A few weeks ago I was blessed to attend the first annual NW EquestFest hosted by Region 5 at the Bellevue Courtyard Marriott. This day was full of forums and activities for the equine enthusiast, and catered to a wide range of disciplines and breeds. I spent most of my day at the AHA booth we had set up with the intention of informing others about our beautiful breed. It was great to see old faces and have people come up and tell us about their Arabian horse. It was even nicer though to see the wonder and interest on other equestrians who have never had experience with Arabian horses. Throughout the day I talked to many inspirational equestrians and connected with people from all different breeds and communities.


AHYA_Blog2016-01.2_pic2 BorderI was lucky enough to attend the Equitation forum and Sport Horse Trends forum. The Equitation form was so helpful. It was a nice jogging of the memory as we close in on the show season, and a great way to learn about other disciplines. I learned a lot about Showmanship, and it definitely peaked my interest. The English training tips were very informative and I felt that they were applicable to all disciplines. For example, I never really thought about working from your foot up. One, you learn how to hold and perfect your feet, you can move up to calf position, and then hips, and so forth. Eventually you will be a flawless equitation rider! The Equitation forum overall showed the importance of proper position when riding, as well as what each discipline is expecting of you.


I later attended the Sport Horse Trends forum. This forum started off with Dressage Fashion trends. It was so cool to see all the different styles as of right now, and she explained some of the trends that have started to filter over from Europe. I learned that rust and navy colors are in, and bedazzled brow-bands are becoming more and more common. Having completely matching tack and apparel sets are a must, and who needs classic black shadbellys when you can have grey or brown ones? Mostly this presentation made me want to go on a huge shopping spree at my nearest tack store or whip out my Dover catalog.

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If a trends forum wasn’t enough, there was a glorious fashion show hosted by Joyce Thomas and members of her barn. The fashion show covered everything from casual practice wear, to coats one would be terrified to ride in and dirty it up. Apparel from all disciplines were covered, and there were a wide range of styles to pick from.


After the convention people who got a ticket for the banquet came in and were treated to a very delicious dinner. We had phenomenal guest speakers such as Cynthia Richardson, Stan Morey, Ron Copple, Kari Amundson, and of course our lovely director Michelle Pease-Paulsen. There was a wonderful dessert dash in which the proceeds went to help the Arabian AHYA_Blog2016-01.2_pic5 BorderHorsemen’s Distress Fund, our table won and tried a Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake. The night was then followed up with numerous and well deserved awards centered on the Region 5 Highpoint Program. I was thrilled to be awarded Champion for Junior Sport Horse Under Saddle, Res. Champ for Junior Dressage, and 4th for Open 14-18. A huge congratulations to the other recipients and my Co-Director McKenzie who received the Youth Volunteer of the Year award.



Overall the EquestFest was an absolute blast. There was a silent auction which benefited the AHDF, Region 5 Youth, and Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. The turnout was absolutely amazing, and the forums ran smoothly. I absolutely adored this convention and hats off to our director for planning and running such a fantastic event. If you live in the Region 5 area, we hope to see you there next year!


About the Author
Danika Overstreet is the current Region 5 Youth Co-Director

Have a story you want to share on the blog? We’d love to hear from you; contact youth@arabianhorses.org today!