Eleven year-old Olivia Tordoff of Columbus, Ohio is walking on cloud nine after winning her first Congress Championship in the Novice Horsemanship 13 and Under. On Thursday, Olivia with her new horse, Sterling Version (Sterling) took home the coveted bronze championship trophy and beat out 113 other exhibitors in her class. On cutest factor alone, young Olivia and 16.3 hand Sterling stand out in a crowd. The 16 year-old grey gelding was previously owned by Dan Yeager of Dallas, Texas. In 2006, Yeager and Sterling were the Congress Novice Amateur Champions in the Horsemanship.
"I wanted a little girl to have the opportunity to live their dream with Sterling, and I am so glad that Olivia won the Congress with him," says former owner, Dan Yeager about Sterling. "She loves him to death, and I know he has a forever him with the Tordoff family."
The Tordoff's purchased Sterling last December for Olivia's Christmas present, and she instantly fell in love.
“A good friend of ours heard Sterling might be for sale, and, thankfully my mom and dad got me
the best horse in the whole world. He has taught me a lot, and he is really sweet and always tries hard," Olivia told GoHorseShow in the Celeste arena on Friday. "I thought my first ride was okay, but everyone told me it was amazing, and then, I was good in the finals as well. I had a first, two seconds, and a fifth. My trainer, Tom Chown, really helped me feel prepared and believe in myself."
Sterling and Olivia still have the showmanship classes remaining at the Congress starting Saturday, and she looks forward to qualifying for the AQHYA World Show next year.
"My advice for anyone wanting to do well at the Congress is to dream, believe, work, and then you will achieve," Olivia says. "This has been the best Congress ever and I'd like to thank Sterling, my mom and my trainer for all their help and support."