Rising stars in reining came to the 2015 USEF Youth Reining National Championships on Saturday, June 27 with the goal of claiming a national title. Held in conjunction with the NRHA Derby at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Okla., Emmy-Lu Marsh earned the USEF 14-18 Youth Reining National title and James Belden, Jr. was the USEF 13 & Under Youth Reining National Champion.
Fourteen-year-old Marsh (Tallulah, La.) was the 2014 13 & Under Champion and was still in top form a year later as she claimed the USEF 14-18 Youth Reining National Champion title. Riding her own four-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, Who Whiz Porter, Marsh guided her young mount to an excellent score of 143.5 from the judging panel of Doug Milholland and Brenda Brown.
"It was amazing, I was so proud of him," Marsh said of her ride with Who Whiz Porter. Stepping up from the 13 & Under division, she added, "It was crazy to be competing against the big kids and receive such a big score; it was great."
The USEF 14-18 Youth Reining Reserve National Champion title went to 16-year-old Annabeth Payne (Tallahassee, Fla.) after she piloted Chexamillion, her own nine-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, to a score of 136.0.
Belden, Jr., a 13-year-old resident of Wellington, Fla., scored top honors in the USEF 13 & Under Youth Reining National Championship. He and TR Chic Magnet, his father James Belden's 13-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, laid down a solid run, scoring 136.0, and claiming the title.
"It is a surprise and an honor to win a National Championship," said Belden, Jr. "Pattern eight was well suited to my horse's skill set and we had a good ride despite a small penalty for a late lead change. TR Chic Magnet's performance in the sliding stops and rollbacks was exemplary and I was very happy with his circles and spins. I hope to continue to improve my performance with this great horse under the guidance of Dave Moore my trainer and coach."
Twelve-year-old Bo Van Duys (Parkland, Fla.) and Wimpys Lucky Girl, her mother Holly Van Duys' six-year-old Quarter Horse mare, received a score of 134.5 to earn the USEF 13 & Under Youth Reining Reserve National Champion title.
Find more information on the NRHA Derby.
Learn more about the USEF Youth Reining Program.