Local teen representing nation in horsemanship show
Doug Ramsay photo, dougramsayphoto.photoshelter.com
Graysen Stroud, 17, spends some time with her horse, Cash, last week
SNOHOMISH — Local teenager Graysen Stroud, 17, has always been more than comfortable, if not talented, in the saddle.
This July she will be putting her equestrian skills to the test representing our nation in an international horse riding championship.
Stroud, a Snohomish High junior, will be competing in the 2014 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Youth World Cup show in College Station, Texas.
“It’s such an honor,” Stroud said last month. “I was actually at the gym working out when they called to tell me I’d been chosen.”
Stroud got the nod after she submitted videos of her riding and gave a résumé of her awards.
She’s been riding since she was a toddler. She began showing horses at age 7.
Her versatility in riding and showing horses are a big factor for the World Cup. At the show, she and other riders will be evaluated and then matched to horses they’ve never handled before.
According to her mother, Paige, Graysen has been riding since before she could really walk.
“(Her dad and I) are both horse trainers, so Graysen grew up in the barn,” Paige Stroud said. “We had her sitting (on the horse), riding around with us before she even could walk.”
Her parents are quarter horse trainers that owned and operated the Stroud Ranch in Snohomish.
Paige Stroud moved her own training business to Cascade Meadows Equestrian Center in Monroe about 10 years ago.
Graysen, an only child, attributes her ambition to her parents’ support.
“My mom, she helps me with everything,” Graysen Stroud said. “I couldn’t do any of this without her.”
This was Stroud’s first year to apply for the World Cup. She will be among ten young American equestrians competing against youth from Australia, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Israel and a smattering of European countries ranging from Luxembourg to Norway.
Stroud will be one of 10 youth representing America at the World Cup. World-renowned quarter horse professional Nancy Cahill will be the Team USA coach.
The team works with all the horses and each team member may ride a different horse in each event, working on patterns, groundwork, reining, and other equestrian skills.
Graysen began showing horses at age 7 in the reining category. Her first all-around horse, Howard, she showed in 4-H Club and AQHA Youth division shows. He is now retired and actually still alive today, at age 29. The horse’s age is longer than usual lifespans.
She has been showing her horse Cash since 2007.
“I’ve never not wanted to ride horses,” Graysen said.
She first showed Howard at AQHA and state quarter horse association breed shows. When she turned 8, she was able to show at 4-H shows, and then graduated to showing in the Walk-to-Trot age 10 and under category. She no longer shows for 4-H, and has focused showing at AQHA shows. She now shows in both the Hunt Seat (English style) and Western style of equestrian sport.
She won Congress, the largest breed show in the world, in 2012 and also finished as the reserve champion at Congress 2013 in the age 15-18 Horsemanship category. She has won over 60 AQHA All-Arounds horse shows and competitions and has the belt buckles and trophies to show for it.
Graysen said she will probably show Hunt Seat and Western at the World Cup.
Because of her involvement with horse shows, Graysen doesn’t participate in school sports. However, her success in horse showing has recently given her a ticket to college.
“I’ve committed, verbally, to the University of Georgia,” Graysen said. “(Going away for college) isn’t scary, because I’ll already have some friends from showing horses” who also will be going to Georgia.
Following the World Cup, Graysen has a busy schedule that has even more traveling.
She’ll be going to the Youth World Show in Oklahoma in August, the AQHYA (American Quarter Horse Youth Association) Scholarship Show in Monroe in August, her University of Georgia official campus visit in September, and Congress show in October. She also will be campaigning for the AQHYA Region 1 director position at the AQHA YES leadership conference, to take place during the World Cup in July.
As most ambitious high school students find, the more she does, the better her future will lay out.