Two local girls, Ashley Arnold of Liberty County and Hannah Mason of Long County, are garnering attention for their recent accomplishments in the horse riding arena.
Arnold, a local rider, competes in several rodeo events and rides different horses. For calf-roping, she rides Jazz; for barrel-racing it’s Easy Rocking Six, and for heading competitions, she saddles up with Holme Town Hank.
The Bradwell Institute senior has been riding since she was 8 years old and, through hard work and practice, is now competing at the state level in the National Barrel Horse Association. This year, she also was the Coastal Empire Association’s all-events high point season champion in the junior division for riders ages 13-19.
Throughout the season, Arnold excelled at the state level, beating 350 other riders in the Texas barrel racing competition to bring home a first-place trophy in the Georgia Federation of Saddle Clubs state championship meet. At the state contest, which was in Perry over Labor Day weekend, the Liberty County equestrian also finished sixth in arena racing.
However, Arnold isn’t just relishing her past achievements. In the Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association, the 17-year-old is tied for the top spot in barrels and team roping in the junior class. She’s in second place in the women’s all-around division.
When she isn’t in the saddle, Arnold said she likes to fish and hunt — especially alligators.
In Long County, Hannah Mason, 10, is leading the way on horseback.
The Walker Middle School student has been riding for six years, but didn’t start training for competition until two years ago when she joined the Georgia Wranglers.
As a Wrangler, she was the 2009-10 Coastal Empire Association’s reserve high point season champion in the small-fry division for riders ages 9-12.
Based on her points earned in Coastal Empire Association, Mason qualified to compete at the Georgia Federation of Saddle Clubs state championship meet. At the state contest, she competed in five events and, riding her quarter horse Dial’s Beau, finished fourth out of 54 riders in the cones riding event. Mason was proud of her impressive state-level finishe, which came in her first year of competition.
This year, the Long County equestrian plans to compete in the Coastal Empire Point Show Circuit and in the local National Barrel Horse Association circuit.
Both Mason and Arnold ride with the Georgia Wranglers, which is in Pembroke.