A longtime 4-H member and senior at Elkins High School will compete next month at the 47th All-American Quarter Horse Congress, the world's largest single-breed horse show.
Alayna Collett from Elkins will be traveling to Columbus with her horse, Dodge, on Oct. 17 to compete with some of the most talented horses in the world. Collett, daughter of Alan and Patricia Collett, has been competing since she was 9 years of age.
The Congress showcases some of the best horse and rider combinations in the world. Throughout her six-day stay, Collett will compete in Hunter Under Saddle and Showmanship in the youth aged 15-18 class. Along with great competition and the chance to meet new friends from around the world, the Congress contestants have the opportunity to attend lecture series and demonstrations, presented by the industry's leading professionals from horse trainers to veterinarians with focus on all aspects of care, management, ownership and competition.
Alayna Collett rides her horse, Dodge, after winning the 2013 West Virginia State Fair AQHA High Points Championship. (Submitted photo)
"There are no shortcuts in preparing for competition, and an established language of communication between you and your horse is essential," Collett said. "Bonding with your horse and earning its trust requires countless hours of training and lots of patience."
Dodge - or as he is better known by his competition name, Sippin' at Jack's Bar - is Collett's 7-year-old American Quarter Horse and her companion and teammate in The Congress competition.
Collett's interest in horses blossomed when she joined the Randolph County 4-H program as a third-grader and completed her very first 4-H horse project. This qualified her to compete at the Randolph County Fair 4-H Horse Show. Each year thereafter, she excelled in equine project work and competed in Virginia and throughout West Virginia, including the 2013 West Virginia State Fair where she captured the AQHA High Points Championship in the youth aged 14-18 class.
"The first-hand knowledge I gain at The Congress will be invaluable to me in organizing a local horse show for my senior project," Collett said.