Laken Snyder wins 2011 reserve championship
Laken Snyder and her horse, Soterion
STOCKDALE -- Laken Snyder of Stockdale has been riding horses since the age of 5, but began showing Arabians a year ago. Although she hasn’t been at it long, Laken has already achieved success, and was recently named as the 2011 National Reserve Champion at the Arabian Youth Nationals.
After being given her first Arabian, Cimatars Bedowin, Laken entered a couple of open shows, and then ventured into the Class A shows with her friend and mentor, Beth Jones. Laken performed well, and she and Beth competed as often as they could.
Laken watched the English classes (Park Horse, Country English, Show Hack, and Native Costume) and was determined to try those, too. The problem she ran into, though, was that she didn’t have the right horse.
Determined to try her hand at it, Laken talked her father into buying her an English horse from an Internet auction in Tennessee. She bought Soterion in August 2010, despite having only been on an English horse once -- for about five minutes.
It took Laken several months to learn how to make and keep Soterion moving correctly. The two competed in their first open show in October 2010, and there was much left to be desired. Still, Laken was not discouraged, and her determination grew stronger.
By December, she completed her first open show successfully, and placed third with a quarter horse judge. In March 2011, Laken began showing Soterion at the A shows. Laken placed well, and continued to show signs of improvement with each show.
By the time the Regionals rolled around, Laken and Soterion were working well together, and they qualified for Nationals. Laken had actually earned the right to compete in both Show Hack and Native Costume riding with Soterion, and was to compete in Western Horsemanship riding atop De Special Edition.
The Arabian Youth Nationals were held in Albuquerque, N.M., at the end of July. Laken competed and made it to finals in three of her classes, including Purebred Native Costume class.
In the end, Laken was thrilled to be awarded a top 10 in the class, and was overjoyed when they announced that she and Soterion had been named as the 2011 National Reserve Champion. Although Laken hasn’t met all of her goals on Soterion, she has had a great start in 2011.