Haley Henderson excels in competitive reining event

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Haley Henderson and Nancy.

Haley Henderson, a 2104 graduate of Manila High School, plans to continue competing in reining and riding horses at a college level as she will be attending the University of Tennessee Martin. She will be on the equestrian team. She is the daughter of Kim and Greg Hart.

Her love of riding started in 2009 when she got her first horse Cowboy. She had plans to compete in barrel racing. Unfortunately Cowboy became lame. They did not get to compete together but he is still with her. She searched for another horse for competition and got Richie, a barrel prospect. Richie had been trained in reining. Haley decided instead of retraining Richie, she would give reining a chance. It did not take her long to realize it was the event for them.

Haley said her family has been very supportive of her riding and competing.

Reining is a competitive event with very strict rules. Riders are judged on a pattern for each maneuver. It is judged on how it looks and how correct the rider makes the pattern.

Haley did not qualify to compete at state in reining in 2011 but did qualify to compete in horsemanship.

"I competed on a borrowed horse and won third or fourth in state that year," she said.

The next year she qualified to go to state and placed third in reining. She also qualified in 2013 and placed second with her horse, Nancy.

Haley said Nancy is a good horse and they both like to do well.

"Dad said when I could feel the lead changes, he would get me a new horse and I got Nancy and she has done well," Haley said.

During the show season Haley spends a lot of time riding. She will spend three to five days a week with the trainer, never less than three. She has worked with trainer Tim Laws since 2011.

"He is an awesome trainer," she said. "I appreciate his help."

Haley qualified for the World Show last year but was not able to go. She requalified this year and plans to attend this year's event. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Youth World Show will be held in Oklahoma City.

She is looking forward to being part of the equestrian team at UT Martin.

"I knew my junior year I needed to work toward getting my grades up and work toward a scholarship," she said. There are only 15 teams in the state. UT Martin is close to home and I am really looking forward to going to school and riding there."

Haley attended a camp there last year and enjoyed it.

Haley works at 1812 Pizza in Manila and gives riding lessons to children. She is also available to exercise horses for owners who need help.

Her immediate plans include studying and enjoying riding in college competition and her long-term plans include becoming a pharmacist.

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