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Richmond Hill girl racking up horse show awards
Lizzy Claggett 004
Lizzy Claggett and her horse, Bentley, with the numerous awards they won at the Palomino Youth World Show in Tunica, Miss., last month. - photo by Ted O'Neil

When Lizzy Claggett and her mom, Gina Noel, travel to horse shows they naturally transport the horses in a trailer. They might need an additional trailer to bring home all the awards.

Claggett, a junior at Richmond Hill High School, recently received three world championships, two finalist ribbons and three third place ribbons at the Palomino Youth World Show in Tunica. Mississippi.

“It’s what we call bringing home the hardware,” Noel laughed.

Although Claggett tends to win at basically every show she attends, she said that is not always the most important aspect.

“I learn something every time, something about the horse and myself and how to get better,” she said.

Getting to that level takes time though, especially when there are multiple horses involved. For the Palomino Youth World Show, for example, it was only Claggett’s second performance with Bentley, whose show name is Bad as Chocolate.

“You can’t say that name too fast,” Noel said. “We’ve had that happen with announcers before.”

Competitions generally consist of multiple parts. Showmanship consists of how the horse is presented and horsemanship involves riding.

“Every horse is different, just like people,” Claggett said. “They have a mind of their own. When it comes time to practice, you can tell pretty quickly what kind of mood they are in and what you’re going to get that day.”

Claggett began riding at age 7 and showing at age 10. Noel manages Chimney Field Stables, a 750-acre horse farm on Fort McAllister Road that offers riding lessons, horse boarding and trail rides. It gets its name from a lone chimney still standing on the property that used to be part of the slave quarters when the land was a rice plantation.

“I usually ride about two hours a day,” Claggett said. “I was in marching band up until freshman year, but this takes a lot of time.”

Her final event of the season will be the 4H Southern Regionals on Labor Day weekend, a 13-state competition that Claggett has placed at before.

Like most high school juniors, Claggett is starting to think about college and has hopes of continuing her involvement with horses. Larger schools have equestrian teams that are part of the athletic department and offer scholarships. Beyond college, Claggett is thinking of becoming a large animal veterinarian or an equine chiropractor.

“I just know I can’t see myself not being around horses every day,” she said.

(For more information about Chimney Field Stables, call 912-313-2842.)

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