Kelsay Horsley and Royal Imagination after winning at the 1995 Annual Congress Show in Spanaway.
by Nick May
"This is the biggest competition for youth riders," said Kelsay Horsley of Woodinville after placing eighth in the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show.
Horsley, an Inglemoor senior, competed in 12 preliminary shows in order between February and June to gain a spot in the World Show in Fort Worth, Texas. She and her horse, Royal Imagination, rode among 115 competitors to earn a top 10 finish in the hunter under saddle competition.
But competition is nothing new to Horsley. Growing up in Woodinville, horseback riding has played a paramount role in her life since the age of seven, competing frequently in novice shows in the 13-and-under division.
"I do it all the time," she said about riding. "I wouldn't know anything else."
Although the journey to Texas was a long and difficult process, Horsley asserts that qualifying in our own state may have been the hardest step. Washington state produces some of the best riders in its division, Horsley said, making the local competition the toughest for many young riders.
Horsley's competition in Texas was open to those under 18, but the AQHA also holds a world championship for adults. Horsley's next aspiration is to return to Fort Worth with Royal Imagination to place as solidly as she did last August.