Local competitor Ryley Ritz, 14, recently claimed the top prize at a national equestrian competition held in Fort Worth, Texas, from June 29 through July 3.
Ritz won the Future Novice Horsemanship division, consisting of a wide range of competitors 15 and under.
The competition Ryley won was in Western riding or Western Horsemanship. In this category, performers are assigned a horse to ride and judged by how they do following the particular pattern they are given.
To get to nationals, Ritz first had to place in the top two at a regional event. She took first in the Future Novice Horsemanship division at the Region 5 North event at the end of April at the Fulton County Fairgrounds in Wauseon.
Region 5N consists of riders from Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.
Ryley has been involved in horse riding since the age of three. She lives in the Evergreen school district, but is home-schooled.
The last two years she has competed on an Interscholastic Equestrian Association team out of Findlay coached by Katie Morehead. During the season — fall through spring — Morehead’s students go to her farm for training sessions once a week.
Ryley was also recognized as the top point-getter for Region 5N after the 2019-20 season. She accumulated the most points in her division throughout all shows.
Up next for Ritz, she will show off her talents at the Fulton County Fair in September. The IEA season starts back up at the end of September.