Allen teen rides to equestrian nationals

by dentonramsey

Allen teen rides to equestrian nationals


For 17-year-old Rachel Campbell, country lyrics such as “sometimes the best cowboys aren’t cowboys at all” make perfect sense.

Campbell, a senior at Allen High School, has qualified to compete nationally in the 2006 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) National Junior Team Championship to be held in July in the prestigious Pebble Beach, Calif.

This Wylie teen also proves that in order to be a top rider from Texas, you don’t have to be top-notch in calf chasing or roping.

The top five scores submitted for each rider and horse combination were averaged out to determine qualification based on applications of intent from across the nation.

“My hope is that Rachel continues to perform as well at the national level as she has done throughout the year, at 110 percent,” North Texas Equestrian Center (NTEC) owner and head trainer Kai Handt said.

Campbell, along with horse ‘Discoverer,’ will be the first rider and horse team from the state of Texas to compete in the North American Junior Dressage Championship.

Dressage is a classical form of riding where the horse and rider are judged based on accuracy, balance and movement throughout a series of exercises performed in an arena.

Originally used for training a horse and rider combination for military purposes, dressage is a riding tradition that dates back to more than 2,000 years ago and demands an extreme level of cooperation between both the horse and the rider.

Sherry Cooper, a student of Handt’s for nearly 20 years, believes things have changed quite a bit in recent years when it comes to horses, training and dressage.

“Now, dressage has become much more sophisticated and to win, you need to have a top horse, bred and trained to do dressage,” Cooper said.

NTEC riders have already won the young rider team championship at Los Colinas, with team members Kaylen and Bethany Hunt of Pittsburgh, Campbell of Wylie and Jesse Askew of Plano taking home the gold.

Campbell hopes to repeat her gold-medal performance in July when she and Discoverer hit the arena in California’s beautiful and scenic Pebble Beach.