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    Sydney Cheong

    Sydney Cheong

    SHELBURNE, Vt. — There was a long list of Californians who won competition in the show ring at the 2013 American Morgan Horse Association Grand Nationals and World Championship Show (related article, page 18). Outside the arena, another Californian took home some prestigious recognition.

    The 2013 AMHA Youth of the Year is Mackenzie Meier of Lenexa, Kan., and Sydney Cheong of Los Angeles is the reserve champion.

    The contestants participated in a rigorous, four-part test throughout the course of two days. Included are a written exam, an oral presentation and interview, a ridden or driven horsemanship pattern, and a judging division with a reasons portion. The winner of this prestigious contest earns a custom-designed awards package valued at $2,500 and is generously sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust. Meier placed first in the oral presentation, written exam, and the judging division, and received second place in the horsemanship pattern. Cheong, a senior at Harvard-Westlake School, also was in the show ribbons, winning the Horsemanship Pattern division. She also has earned a custom-designed awards package for her accomplishment.

    “I am so excited to win Reserve Youth of the Year!” Cheong said. “My main goal is to promote awareness about this amazing breed of horse so that it may grow and others can enjoy all that these horses have to offer as well. The Morgan horse world has given me so much; I am truly honored that it has given me this opportunity as Reserve Youth of the Year, too.”

    “Organizing this contest and actually being a part of it to make it happen was so rewarding,” said Taylor Royals, AMHA Youth Coordinator. “Seeing the contestants have fun and succeed brought back many memories I have of my youth years in the Morgan world.”

    Each year, dozens of youth contests are held across the country, hosted by horse shows, state Morgan clubs, and local youth groups. The Youth of the Year program offers participants an opportunity to improve his or her skills in the area of horsemanship, sportsmanship, public speaking, decision-making, and judging. The senior (age 14-21) winner of a local contest qualifies to compete in the Youth of the Year Finals, held each year at the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show.

    Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a non-profit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors, and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 100 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national service organizations. You can learn more about AMHA at www.morganhorse.com.

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