BELTON — Riders young and old competed in the Capitol Area Quarter Horse Association All Breed Show this past weekend at the Bell County Equine and Livestock Complex.
There were more than 300 entries, said Janine Hess of Austin, club president, with Western classes on Saturday and English classes on Sunday. There was also a Challenge Class on Sunday.
The nonprofit CAQHA began more than 30 years ago as a registered quarter horse club, she said, but expanded to an all breed show. They have been coming to the Bell County Expo Center ever since it opened the new complex.
“We were the first horse show they had here,” she said. “This facility is so fantastic. The staff is great to work with.”
Riley Long, 15, rode in the Challenge Class, for Hoofbeats for Heroes, which works with children of military families in the Killeen area, Hess said. The girl’s father, Lt. Col Ryan Long, U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Hood, was in the audience.
He’s seen her ride before, he said, but not for a couple of years.
“It’s cool that this organization hosts events for children with special needs,” he said. “Riley’s not involved in any activities outside of school except for this. It’s kind of amazing how excited she gets about these events.”
Hess introduced two more young equestrians, Sabine Lazo, 18, of Caldwell and Julie Hill, 22, of Round Rock. They both have a long history with the CACHA. Sabine won a $1,000 scholarship this weekend.
“I’ve been showing here since I was about 10 years old,” Sabine said. “I also show in the paint horse circuit on a world level.”
She was a member of the 2018 Youth World Games Team USA, she said.
She and her mother, Kelly Lazo, train horses together.
“I show clients’ horses, and I have a few of my own that I train to sell,” Sabine said.
“I love how they teach you to communicate,” she said of horses. “You always have to be patient and put in the work to understand them.”
Sabine is studying online at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, with a major in communications.
“I’d like to do something along the line of teaching people how to communicate with each other,” she said.
Julie Hill said she grew up in the CAQHA program and has won world champion and reserve world champion at the American Paint Horse Association World Show. She’s a graduate student at Texas A&M University and hopes to go to medical school. She’s been on the A&M equestrian team four years, and plans to stay involved with horse shows.
“I started riding when I was five years old,” Hill said. “I got my first pony (Plaudits Handsome Lad). I started with him in these shows.”
She was the first in her family to start riding, she said.
“My grandfather told me every Texan needed to learn how to ride a horse,” she said. “He paid for my first five riding lessons and I was hooked.”