Fernley girl competing in Texas horse show
Nevada Appeal News Service
It’s not all about riding horses.
Although 12-year-old Sierra Arroyo of Fernley was born in the saddle and comes from a long line of horse-loving, competitive riders, some of the equine competitions she enters require knowledge about other aspects of horsemanship besides riding.
The young rider has been winning awards since she was 2. She started riding on her mother’s lap as a baby and graduated to her own mount at 2 when she won a lead line competition at an open horse show sponsored by The Fallon Horsemen.
Now, Arroyo rides a registered quarter horse, 7-year-old War Lord Twila, which she simply calls Twila, that was bred and raised at her grandmother’s ranch.
Her maternal grandmother also trained the mare before turning her over to Arroyo. Not your typical rocking chair grandmother, Kaye Letchworth, of Silver Springs, is one of few riders to be a member of the American Quarter Horse Association Professional Horsemen in Nevada.
Arroyo’s mother, Shannon trains riders and horses, as well. Her father was training to ride bulls when her parents met.
Arroyo has competed throughout Northern Nevada, in Utah and recently attended a youth leadership conference in Amarillo, Texas. The convention was geared to young people 18 and younger. Motivational speakers were present to teach the youth about how to deal with life situations and issues facing horses and their owners.
Only three people from Nevada are chosen to attend each year.
“It was extremely fun,” Arroyo said. “If they asked me to go again, I’d love to go. It was that much fun.”
The experience has led Arroyo to another competition at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, this month. She is still seeking sponsors for the event.
The Youth World Show, put on by American Quarter Horse Youth Association, will consist of opportunities to give speeches, enter contests and give team demos.
There is a horse bowl (a trivia contest using horse facts), horse judging (with the contestants having to explain their decisions to the judge to strengthens their public speaking skills) and team events for non-riders and riders.
“Fernley has a large quarter horse population,” said Shannon, Arroyo’s mom. “We’d love to have them all active in the association. It’s a good way to keep kids busy and active.”
Arroyo is a seventh grader at Fernley Intermediate School, involved in the Acoustic Wolves guitar group at Fernley Elementary School and plays soccer. She volunteers in her brother’s classroom and helps her mom around the house as well as caring for her horse.
Anyone interested in joining the AQHYA or sponsoring Arroyo to represent the Nevada chapter (NQHYA) at the Youth World Show can contact the group’s youth advisor, Laurel Capurro-Wachtel, at (775) 752-3930 or Kaye Letchworth at (775) 771-1130.