During the first week of September two young ladies from the area were honored to ride in the Arabian Sport Horse Nationals in Raleigh, NC.
Rebecca Thornhill and Mina Folkerts both members of the Missouri Arabian Horse Association competed for bragging rights in several categories.
Thornhill walked away with one National Championship in Speed Jumper, three Reserve Champions (Working Hunter, Jumpers, Jumpers ATR), six top tens and third in Derby.
Although this was Folkerts second time competing at that level, she made the Hunt Seat until the final cut.
Some people rarely get to share their passion with their children, but in Thornhill’s case her Mom has taught her everything she knows.
Her mom, Kelly, had Thornhill on a horse at the age of three years old and entered in her first show by the age of five. She feels like she has rode horses so long that it just comes as a second nature to her.
“Riding gives me a sense of peace that I don’t experience with any other thing I do,” said Thornhill.
Not only does her mom instruct her, but she has also had the opportunity this summer to attend two camps in Baltimore, MD to help her with her techniques.
Thornhill is a senior this year at Elsberry High School and hopes to one day own her own business where she trains and shows her own horses.
Friends since grade school, Thornhill introduced Folkerts to the hobby of horseback riding eight years ago.
Both continue to ride together today and share their love for horses.
Folkerts has ridden the same horse, Ben Daubert+, for five state shows and two national shows.
She believes that the confidence she gains from riding horses gives her the confidence to succeed everyday in life.
Folkerts plans to keep riding with aspirations of competing at the Grand Prix Level Dressage which is the highest level of dressage. This level is governed by the FEI and tests the horse and rider to the highest standards.
Dressage is a pyramid style equine sport where each level (10 of them) builds on the skills developed in the previous level.
Folkerts is a sophomore at Elsberry High School.