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Accomplished AjPHA member named NRHyA Youth of the Year

FORT WORTH, Texas—American Junior Paint Horse Association (AjPHA) member Christine Gordon was recently named Youth of the Year by the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA).

The 14-year-old Evergreen, Colo., resident, active AjPHA member and avid Paint Horse reining competitor received the honor for her outstanding participation in the NRHyA Varsity Reining program. According to NRHyA, the program was established to engage youth members and encourage them to become more active at both the local and national levels. The program offers NRHyA members opportunities to contribute to the association in addition to developing valuable life skills which allow them to be successful contributing members of society. The Varsity Reining program awards participants for their efforts on various award levels, with the highest and most prestigious being Youth of the Year.

Aside from her efforts with NRHyA, Gordon is an active AjPHA member who enjoys competing in reining events on her Paint Horse, Smart First Move. Gordon got her start with AjPHA four years ago and jumped in head-first. She has served as a National Director since 2006 and was the 2006-2007 Zone 3 representative. As part of her duties she serves as the voice for all AjPHA members in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

“Christi is an exceptional youth and I can’t give her enough praise,” said APHA’s Director of Youth Activities Candice Lancaster. “She puts in all sorts of volunteer work and has been involved in everything—from the Youth Leadership Conference to the art contest.”

Most of the time, the motivated teen can be found showing Smart First Move in various reining events across the country. Gordon is looking forward to concentrating solely on her progress with the 5-year-old palomino tobiano gelding this year. Last year, she divided her time between Smart First Move and Sacred Solano. However, showing two horses didn’t slow her down, and she is ranked first on the APHA Youth 13 & Under Reining Honor Roll with Sacred Solano.

In order to balance her hectic show career, Gordon is home-schooled along with her brother and twin sisters. As a 14-year-old, she is technically a high school sophomore and on track to graduate high school at only 16 years old. She is looking forward to showing through her youth career and plans a career in equine reproduction.

“She is deeply committed to reining,” said her father, Jim Gordon. “She will continue showing in APHA, NRHA and United States Equestrian Federation reining events. Her number one aspiration is a career in equine breeding and processes to improve breeding. Her interest is so great that she has already taken freshman level reproduction courses from Texas A&M University and interned with a veterinarian.”

This active member of the horse community has a long road ahead and is sure to achieve much more success along the way.

“I think the thing that has been so pleasing to us [her parents] is her humility,” said Jim Gordon. “She doesn’t get upset when something doesn’t go her way. She is just thankful she has the opportunity.”

More about AjPHA

The American Junior Paint Horse Association was formed in 1974 and has grown every year since. The organization is dedicated to youth aged 18 and younger who love the Paint Horse breed. Youth can become involved in a multitude of activities that the AjPHA has to offer. By attending conferences and competing in a variety of contests, youth are making an imprint on their future by being a member of the AjPHA.

“AjPHA members are the future of the American Paint Horse Association,” said Lancaster. “We will continue to offer opportunities such as leadership training and scholarships, as well activities with American Paint Horses for our youth members to develop the skills to be successful leaders in the future..”

The AjPHA continues to grow and now has a membership of more than 7,300 youth around the world.

You can learn more about joining AjPHA and the contests available for its members, by calling (817) 834-2742, extension 248, or e-mailing youth@ajpha.com. You may also log on to ajpha.com.


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