Califonia Bountiful

Kids soar at international horse competition

Prestigious event teaches life skills and gives young equestrians an exhilarating rush.

For 11-year-old Ian McFarland, the chance to take part in the Sacramento International Horse Show is literally a chance to soar and to show that dreams do come true.

He’s one of a handful of children and teenagers who participated in the prestigious five-day event in Rancho Murieta, a small town nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills, about 20 miles from the state Capitol. Also in participating in the event was 11-year-old Payton Warren, who started riding in kindergarten.

“It feels wonderful,” exclaimed Payton. “I get this great feeling coming over me every time I get in the ring and start jumping.”

All the kids agree that showing off their skills by jumping in front of crowds provides an exhilarating rush, but the culmination of their weeks of training and hard work can all be over in just 60 seconds.

Despite the pressure for the kids to perform well in front of a crowd, trainers insist that winning is not the most important thing. They say this kind of event is a good way for kids to learn valuable life skills.

“They have to learn discipline and responsibility, they have to be focused and balanced, and they have to remember the course,” said horse trainer Gry McFarlane.

For more information about the show, visit

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