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Sparkly shirts and shiny horses

Lauren+Weaber+standing+in+the+trailer+with+her+new+filly%2C+Ivy.
Lauren Weaber standing in the trailer with her new filly, Ivy.

Lauren Weaber standing in the trailer with her new filly, Ivy.

Lauren Weaber standing in the trailer with her new filly, Ivy.

Allie Mellor, Feature Editor

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Weaber accepted by Ranch Heritage Program

Lauren Weaber (20) began her involvement in the equine industry at the early age of two when she received her first American Quarter Horse, Makingthemove, a retired show horse. Barney, as Lauren called him, served as Lauren’s teacher and babysitter. Though she was too young to care for him entirely on her own, she said she learned many practical ways to care for him. While traveling with her uncle, a Quarter Horse trainer, to AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) shows, Lauren “learned about sparkly shirts, shiny horses, perfectly tilled arenas, but more importantly about dedication, long hours in the saddle, and hard work.”

Now, at age 15, Lauren owns three American Quarter Horses. The first is an older show horse, Taylors Jay or “TJ,” that is now enjoying retirement. TJ has a forever home with Lauren’s family. “He is a special one with a huge personality,” Lauren said. “It was like uncovering a gem in a pile of gravel.” With TJ, Lauren is a member of the Weld County 4-H program, Future Farmers of America, Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Youth Association, American Quarter Horse Youth Association, and the Northern Colorado Riding Club. Lauren’s first full show season with AQHA began in 2016. A successful winter in the show ring placed Lauren at the AQHA Youth World Championship show in Oklahoma City where she exhibited in horsemanship, showmanship, and hunt seat equitation.

“I learned about sparkly shirts, shiny horses, perfectly tilled arenas, but more importantly about dedication, long hours in the saddle, and hard work.”

Lauren’s second American Quarter Horse is a six-year-old gelding, Overdue to be Invitd, aka “Jag” who is just beginning his show career. With a promising career ahead of him, Lauren’s goal is to qualify for the 2018 Youth World Championship. The team exhibits in showmanship, horsemanship, western pleasure, equitation, and hunter under saddle with AQHA. Jag was purchased in February with just two shows under his belt, so Lauren is working to build his confidence as they step up to bigger shows.

This year, Lauren begins a new chapter with a new foal. She has been accepted by the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program to raise and train a weanling donated by an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder. The purpose of this program is to allow AQHA youth members to participate in hands-on training with a mentor to learn the fundamentals of horsemanship. Lauren is one of the fifty selected who will receive advice from an AQHA Professional Horseman and then go on to show at AQHA shows where they can earn back their investment. Participants who have received a foal will demonstrate their skills and knowledge at designated events where they can receive scholarships and prizes. Lauren and her family picked up her new filly, called Justa Bita Ivy from a ranch in Osage, Wyoming on November 13. “Ivy is going to be a fun one to train,” Lauren said. “ If you can imagine giving coffee and some candy to a young child, that’s her personality in a nutshell.” Ivy is a granddaughter of Docs Hickory, the sire of five world champion Quarter Horses in the cutting and reining pen. This filly has a bright future that can spread in any direction, as Docs Hickory is a leading sire in the National Reining Horse Association and the number four cutting horse sire. Lauren plans to show Ivy in ranch riding, reining, and boxing into her college years.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert and by working with her horses every day, Lauren has well exceeded this number. Because Ivy is so young, Lauren does a lot of ground work with her consistently and every day. She loads Ivy in and out of the trailer and practices her yields on the ground as well as exposing her to new things to desensitize her. TJ is retired, but Lauren practices on him during the week because her current show horse, Jag, is at her uncle’s barn. She goes to Pueblo to ride Jag once a week with her uncle. Jag is still young and requires a lot of time, so Lauren rides English, western, and practices showmanship all in the span of one lesson. These lessons can last anywhere from five to six hours, so Jag is well groomed and spoiled afterward. In her years surrounded by talented trainers, riders, and vets, Lauren is a firm believer that there is always room for improvement. She said, “People in this industry are so knowledgeable and are so willing to teach because no matter how many world championships you have won, I think everyone has something to learn.”

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Sparkly shirts and shiny horses