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    Maggie Cincatta and Robin Bond ...ACHA National Champions

    ABILENE, Texas — Now that 12-year-old Maggie Cincatta has returned home from the inaugural American Horsemen’s Challenge Association National Finals with a smile and a national championship, her pathway to a bright future seems as sure as good footing.

    The picture wasn’t so clear though, after she was injured January 2011 when the Pony she rides, Rayo, kicked her in the face while lunging. The setback didn’t keep the courageous girl from riding Rayo, but it did keep her out of the show ring until March of this year, when her trainer, Robin Bond, suggested she compete in an American Horsemen’s Challenge Asociation (AHCA) event in Ramona. The only 12-under rider at the event, Cincatta on Rayo won the Youth Division in her debut — against mostly 15-17 year-olds since there was no 12-under division. She also entered the Amateur Division that weekend and finished eighth out of 25.

    Passionate about her sport — an unrelated offshoot of the Extreme Cowboy Association (EXCA) competition that has gained rapid popularity the last several years — Cincatta and Rayo worked under Bond’s tutelage in preparation for the AHCA National Finals Sept. 28-30 at the Taylor County Expo Center, where she won a saddle, buckle and money as the Wrangler Division (12-under) National Champion as well as another buckle, halter and money as the Reserve CHampion of the Youth Division (18-under).

    Bond, an EXCA headliner in the Pro Division, trailered three horses to compete in Abilene and returned with her own booty, winning the Open Championship and Reserve along with a reserve in the 4-year-old Futurity competition. She trains now at the Deer Springs Equestrian Center in San Marcos.

    After winning her National Championship, Cincatta, who will compete next year on a new horse, KaRona, a 7-year-old Quarter Horse. She’s going to have fond memories on the Pony that got her to her new plateau.

    “Rayo is an amazing Pony,” she described. “We work well together and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Althought he can have a ‘Pony moment’ and is stubborn, he has great transitions and is not afraid of the obstacles.”

    MORE ONLINE: http://bit.ly/210B_NT_AHCA

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