If you want to know what horse showing is all about, you need to meet novice youth, Natasha Blanchard, of Lumberton, Texas. The fifteen year-old's smile and positive attitude is immediately infectious. Blanchard genuinely loves horses, not for what they can do for her, but for what she can give them--her love, support, and constant attention.
"Natasha humbles us," says her trainer, Brad Ost of Highpoint Performance Horses. "She is so excited when she learns something new or does well in a class that many people would take for granted. Natasha never seems to have a bad day and she is always in a good mood--a lot of kids don't have her extra drive and desire to get better."
Blanchard currently shows two horses in the regular youth and novice youth events--Potential Advantage, better known as Cindy in the trail and western riding classes and OpenRange Roses (Melissa) in the western pleasure and horsemanship. One of her favorite accomplishments was in 2011, when she won the NSBA World in the Novice Youth Western Pleasure and the Champions of Champions Trail with Cindy. Also, this past weekend, Blanchard performed well at the East Coast Novice Championship Show with a Top 10 finish in the Novice Youth Western Pleasure.
"I love showing my horses in the all-around events and having fun at the shows," Natasha told GoHorseShow at the East Novice Show last weekend. "I had some problems this year when Cindy hurt her foot and I couldn't show at the Reichert and some other shows, but she is all healed up and we are ready to go!"
When we asked the ninth grader if she likes working with Brad, she immediately smiles and says, "Most of the time," she says laughing. "I only don't like it when he makes me do something over and over again when I do something wrong. He has taught me how to stay slow and wait for the correct times to change my leads in the western riding and how to maintain the correct body position in the horsemanship."
Blanchard adds, " I love working with everyone at Highpoint--Charlie, Jason, Beth, Margaux, Adam and Brad because they are all so nice and they don't scream at you."
With the help of her highly supportive parents, Darla and Tommy Blanchard, Natasha started showing at AQHA shows three years ago.
"Everyone told us to be wary of showing at AQHA shows," Natasha's mother, Darla recalls. "But, we have had nothing but a positive experience showing at quarter horse shows. Natasha loves animals and we wanted to give her the best horses and the best opportunity to succeed."
Her father, Tommy, adds, "The only struggles we have had with her showing horses is getting her off the horses. There is not enough time in a day for the amount of time she wants to ride."
Blanchard, who not surprisingly wants to be a horse trainer when she grows up, says that her future goals are to win the Youth World and Congress with Cindy and Melissa. "I love working with the horses--there isn't anything better in the world than that!"
GoHorseShow wishes Natasha, Cindy, and Melissa good luck at the Congress in the Youth 12-14 and Novice Youth 14-18 events. Be sure to check out her ad in the Congress issue of GoMag by CLICKING HERE. (Pictured above--Natasha with her parents, Darla and Tommy Blanchard)