Caitlin George is an eighth grader at Carson Valley Middle School and a Johnson Lane resident. When she was just a year old, her grandmother put her on a horse and she's been riding ever since. Her passion is riding in wild horse and burro competitions. Caitlin recently went to Bishop, Calif., to participate in the California Wild Horse and Burro Show. She rode King Emmett Earl, aka Emmett, who is a mustang owned by Kim and Doug who own Sunset Stables here in Johnson Lane. Emmett is a dun, which means he is a tan colored mustang with a black stripe down its back.
Caitlin rode Emmett in 11 different events at the show in Bishop. In the Western class, she rode in ridden trail, pleasure, equitation, reining, barrel racing, pole bending. In English she rode Emmett in hunter under saddle, hunt seat equitation, hunter hack (jumping) and she did halter geldings and showmanship. From these 11 classes, Caitlin won nine ribbons and a beautiful belt buckle.
At the Western State Wild Horse and Burro Expo in Reno this summer, Caitlin showed her mustang named Ladyhawk. She is a pretty buckskin color. Caitlin won a belt buckle at that show on Ladyhawk for a win in the All Around In-Hand Horse.
Caitlin belongs to the Silver State Gymkhana Club that puts on shows throughout the year. They are all timed events in western riding. They will have events like Big T, a pole and barrel course; figure eight, weaving through six poles and barrel, and barrels where you have three barrels you run around in a cloverleaf pattern. This sounds like lots of fun to me.
"The training of the horse is critical. You use your feet, legs, seat and hands to show the horse where you want it to go. You have to be one with the horse otherwise the horse will blow the pattern," Caitlin said when I asked how the horse knows what the pattern will be when he enters the gate.
Sunset Stables has been helping Caitlin since Kim and Doug bought the stables. Caitlin rides their horses to keep them rider-friendly and cleans stalls when they need help with that. They in turn have helped her improve in her riding skills.
Caitlin has a new little puppy named Oso, which means "bear" in Spanish. He is an adorable little mutt with feet I am sure he will grow into. She plans to take him to all of the horse shows she attends during the year. Next year when she starts high school, she'll be able to take some Ag classes and animal science classes that will help with her career aspirations to become a veterinarian.
Caitlin is an inspiration to all young teenagers with her energy and goals. Go girl!
If you are in kindergarten to 12th grade and interested in joining Girl Scouts, there is a meeting tonight at Piñon Hills Elementary School from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Or call Melissa Campos at (775)322-0642 ext. 231 for more information.
-- Lisa Welch is a Johnson Lane resident and can be reached at 267-9350.