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WORLD CUP: Johnston Teen Riding High

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The best saddle seat riders in the world will go for gold in South Africa later this year.  A 15-year-old from Johnston caught the competition by surprise when she made the US team on her first try.

“Most of my friends think I jump or do barrels or race so a lot of people don’t understand what I do,” says Brooke Boyer.

Boyer started riding when she was 8 years old.  She competes in Saddle Seat Equitation.

“Saddle Seat Equitation is on the rider.  It has to do with their ability, their horsemanship, how they handle the horse, their form, their overall appearance on the horse,” says trainer Kent Swalla.

Swalla says Boyer makes it look easy.

“There are those that are natural ability and there are those that have to work at it to get it done.  Brooke is very natural,” he says.

But she puts in the hard work.  Every weekend, her family makes the eight-hour round trip to train to the stables in Columbia, Missouri.

“It takes a lot of preparation,” says Boyer.  “If I’m focusing on my wrists, then my feet go out or my feet get messed up.  So as soon as you get everything perfect, something goes wrong."

Everything went right for Boyer earlier this spring.  She made the 2012 USA Saddle Seat Team and stamped her ticket to the World Cup.  At 15, she is youngest member of the team.

“It’s very unusual for someone her age to make the team,” says Swalla.

“I was not expecting it at all.  I was really in shock that I made it,” she says.

We caught up with Boyer at the first show of the season in Des Moines.

“Before I show I get a little nervous just knowing that I could mess up,” says Boyer.

By the time she is on deck, her mom is standing by with some last-minute encouragement.

“Go get ‘em Brooke,” yells Kim Boyer.

At this show, Boyer and her horse are judged on a set pattern as well as their rail work.

“I don’t know how you can do it better.  It was pretty good,” her mom says.

Her performance was good enough for first place.

“It’s a dream of hers to have done this. It’s recognition for all the hard work she’s put into,” says Kim Boyer.

With the first win of the season under her hat, one the best in the US is ready to take on the best in the world.

The Boyer family and trainers will travel to South Africa this December.

To support the team, you can donate to:

United States Equestrian Federation

ATTN: Lori Nelson

4047 Iron Works Pkwy

Lexington, KY 40511.

Donations should be noted as “USA Saddle Seat Team Donation” and will benefit team USA.

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