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Gigi Ekstrom
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Lakehill fifth grader Katie Rich started riding horses five years ago, when she was just six years old. She is now in her second season to compete in horse shows and has won more than 30 blue ribbons since she began competing in 2014. That year and again in 2015, she was the highest ranking 10-year-old in the Walk and Trot division in the Texas/Louisiana region. Katie earned 16 Champion and Grand Champion titles in 2015 and claimed a spot in the World Top Three in the Walk and Trot category.

 
Early in her first season, Katie got her first horse, Champion Bella Marietta, or "Bella" for short.  
 
In August, Katie competed in the World's Championship Horse Show in Louisville, Kentucky, where she finished in Third Place in the 10 year-old Walk and Trot class. 
 
Katie made history in November when she was crowned as the youngest winner of the 2015 horse show held in Kansas City, winning a class at the prestigious American Royal UPHA (United Professional Horseman's Association) National Championship Horse Show. She and Bella competed and won the Walk and Trot Pleasure class for riders 12 and under, competing against winning horses and their riders from all over the United States.  
 
In December, Katie and Bella made an impressive debut in the canter division at the TASHA Texas American Saddle Horse Association) show in College Station, bringing home another championship.

Katie, who has always been interested in horses, began taking lessons after attending a horse camp after kindergarten. Now she is riding three hours a day, three days a week, with more time getting ready for shows. "I know I've learned a lot about responsibility," said Katie. It's important that I keep my grades up, so I can continue riding."  Katie already knows that her love of horses will have an impact on her future. "I plan to continue riding and to study equine management in college. I've already looked at some colleges that offer that program."
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