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Alexie Estrada hits the high point: both in-and-out of the show ring

From Horsetrader staff reports - August 6th, 2009 - Cover Story
Alexie Estrada and Predictably Perfect win All-Around Youth 14-18 at the APHA Summer World Show.

KC Montgomery photo

Alexie Estrada and Predictably Perfect win All-Around Youth 14-18 at the APHA Summer World Show.

Alexie Estrada of Bakersfield may have won the 2009 All-Around Youth 14-18 title at the APHA Summer World Show riding Predictably Perfect, but for her, it was the culmination of years of riding, training and finding a balance in life. Her discipline in both studying hard at school as an honors student and spending several weeks out of the year competing at horse shows has paid off.

Estrada said winning her first World Championship was so rewarding and oh so sweet. “It’s the most amazing feeling ever. All the hard work to become the best you can be; all the blood from the boot blisters; all the sweat from the hours and hours of riding; all the tears from the frustration and exhaustion; all of that has finally paid off,” she said.

She added that winning the Youth Hunter Hack 14-18 Championship was an exceptionally rewarding experience. “My practice before my Hunter Hack class had not gone so well. My horse was tired and I was feeling very nervous. I was very last to go, so as my horse and I walked around the tiny holding pen waiting for our turn, my nerves kept building and building. I tried to just keep taking deep breaths and shake off my nerves, but I was not feeling very confident and was so nervous I could barely swallow.

“As I was standing at the gate gathering my reins, smoothing my hunt coat, and adjusting my helmet, someone shouted: ‘Good luck Lexie!’ I tensely replied with, ‘Thank you so much. I just really need a miracle right now,’ then took a deep breath and entered the show pen. I was apparently granted that miracle because as I rounded the corner to approach my first fence, I knew I had to do something; I made a slight adjustment and managed to get a decent gap to my first fence. When I landed, I had to quickly judge the distance to my second fence. I was perfect. I didn’t have to do anything but keep the same step down the line. After I completed the second fence, a huge sense of relief came over me. I was so pleased with my go. When it came time for awards, I didn’t watch anyone else’s go so I had no clue who was going to win. I had won the first card. I was thrilled. I won the second card. I was even more thrilled. Third card. No way! Could my dream of becoming a world champion come true?! Fourth card. YES! Fifth card, we placed third.

Alexia Estrada

Alexia Estrada

“Jackson and I won by almost a unanimous decision. My joy and sense of accomplishment was very overwhelming. When I got back to the wall to hug my trainer, friends, and family, I can’t even describe how excited I was. I just wanted to leap out of my saddle. I had worked hard and waited my whole youth career to accomplish this goal of becoming a World Champion. And the fact that we won a class that we trained hard for, but yet is very difficult for me, mentally, was the best part,” Estrada recalled.

Estrada was got Predictably Perfect or “Jackson” almost two years ago. “When I tried Jackson, however, we did not get along with each other,” Estrada said. “Jackson was just very stubborn and he really tested me. But at our first show together, we really bonded and our road to success would begin,”

Jackson always works hard to do his job and gives an honest effort every single ride, Estrada said. “He is a horse with so much heart, athleticism, versatility, and talent. I believe Jackson is one of the few extraordinary horses in this industry that can go into literally every single event, with the exception of the speed and roping classes,” she said.

Estrada said she was especially thankful for the support from her trainer James Saubolle, parents Carlos and Korie Estrada, and grandparents Don and Judy Glenn. “They have given me this incredible and very extraordinary opportunity to show horses nationally,” she said.

The future also looks promising for Estrada, 19, who will be an incoming freshman at Texas Christian University this fall by earning both an academic and athletic scholarships to ride on TCU’s equestrian team. She will be busy as a pre-vet student majoring in biology, along with being a member of the equestrian team. “But hopefully I can squeeze in some fall shows,” Estrada said. “Without horses, I don’t feel like I would be complete.”

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