Elizabeth Arthur of Manila may be only eight years old but as far back as she can remember she has loved horses and riding. She chose English riding and has been taking lessons for over three years. She can be found most weekends with her three year old thoroughbred horse, Pilgrim, competing in shows in Jonesboro or Germantown, Tenn.
Elizabeth was only about four years old and a "city girl" when she announced to her parents that she wanted to take up riding. Elizabeth is the daughter of Deadra Dill Arthur of Manila and Scott Arthur of Germantown, Tenn.
Elizabeth's mother grew up in Manila and loved horses. She enjoyed western riding and competed in barrel racing.
"Elizabeth knew that I rode, and when we visited my parents (Ray and Reba Dill) she was around horses, but we had not tried to influence her about horses. It was something that she decided on her own. Before she was even five years old she was watching English riding on television and announced to everyone that was what she wanted to do. I told her she would have to take lessons because I knew nothing about that type of riding," her mother said.
It did not take her parents long to realize that she was very serious about it, and it was not just a passing thought.
Elizabeth not only competes in Hunt Seat where she is judged on posture and control of the horse, she enjoys competing in jumping, a timed event. She was showing with her quarter paint horse, Quick, when she got Pilgrim about a year ago.
Her mother calls Pilgrim a "God send." A friend of theirs, Teddy Simpson, formerly of Manila, is a veterinarian in California. He was home for a visit, and after finding out about Elizabeth's love of horses and riding, he told them that occasionally he ran into thoroughbred race horses that were retired and put up for adoption.
"Several months after we had that conversation Teddy called and said he had done surgery on a race horse that was going to be retired and asked if we were interested in adopting him. We had to sign a paper saying that we would not race him. Even though he can't race anymore, he is perfect for showing and riding," Mrs. Arthur said.
Elizabeth said she fell in love with Pilgrim and calls him her best friend. When she is not riding him, grooming him, or feeding him, she said she likes to walk him out to their favorite hill and just sit and talk to him.
Elizabeth said Quick is a little jealous but she tries to give him attention, also. She keeps her horses at her grandparents' place where there is a good barn and pasture.
Naturally, Elizabeth's favorite movie is "National Velvet." She hopes someday to be able to compete in the national competition.
"There is always more to learn and room for improvement," she said.
Her goal is higher jumping and to continue with her riding.
Elizabeth has made a lot of friends through her riding and looks forward to the shows.
Elizabeth's younger sister, Kathlean, is three years old and only time will tell if she shares her sister's interest in riding. She is not afraid of horses and enjoys riding around the pasture occasionally.