3 horse riders from Augusta bring home national title

Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 9:40 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s not every day you can say you’re a national champion.

Three local athletes departed for Oklahoma City to compete in the 2023 Arabian Horse Association Youth Nationals. They returned to Augusta as the top in their sports class.

Addison Collier, Claire Washburn, and Madison Chancey worked all season to compete at youth nationals.

To qualify, Collier said, “that requires you going to either a competition that is concurrent, which is having two judges that qualifies as two horse shows. Or you would go to three, sing singular judged, competitions.”

And off to Oklahoma City they went.

Collier competed on her horse, Blonde Ambitions.

“It was really a blur. And I was really happy that I could finish off the year with my favorite horse that I’ve ever competed with, and she was a really fun thing to have. I really enjoyed finishing off my last couple years with her just finishing out with the end-all game that I wanted to have,” said Collier.

Collier finished first in the half-Arabian sport horse under saddle class 14U. She also finished top 10 in the hunter hack, two-foot open, in-hand, and equitation.

“Even though you’re competing against each other, it’s super fun. And it’s just, it’s great. I mean, the energy is there. Everyone’s great sport,” said Collier.

Washburn finished first in the purebred under saddle. She competes in anywhere from 10 to 15 series a season.

“I started when I was a lot younger and I did like summer camp. And then I guess I just decided I wanted to get more into it and I got a horse and then I ended up moving barns a couple of times and ended up here a couple of years ago,” said Washburn.

Like Chancey, Washburn trains at Hidden Forest Stables.

“I normally have lessons like twice a week and then normally on the weekends, I come out every day and ride a couple of horses. My horse gets worked a couple times a week and then my trainer rides him too,” said Washburn.

Finishing as a national champion was special to Washburn this year. She was injured twice, tearing her ACL and breaking her back.

“I feel accomplished that I was able to still do well, after not riding for a while. After I tore my ACL I was very rusty and then my back I was able to jump back into it quicker but definitely taking a lot of time off affects it a lot " said Washburn.

Chancey is 10 years old. The three were among more than 1,500 competitors in Oklahoma City.

“It’s really hard competing against kids around the world, they can be really better than me, so I try my hardest,” said Chancey.

She won first in walk and trot cross rails. She chose a celebration for the ages.

“I was so happy that I was there. I went home and took a nap,” said Chancey.

Chancey said she looks to Collier and Washburn for guidance in big competitions like youth nationals.