Hi, my name is Grace Lyons and I am 13 years old.  I live in Waxhaw, North Carolina and I have been riding ever since I was five years old. I have three horses of my own, Red, Charlie, and Yankee and I take care of two additional horses - Tough Times, and Grey Pilgrim.  Ever since I can remember I have loved horses.  I used to go and visit my Uncle Bobby a lot just to ride his horses.

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I started lessoning when I was around five, and I started out in vaulting.  I did Vaulting for a little while but I then realized that I wanted to really ride.  I started taking lessons at Thunder Bay Riding Academy when I was around six.  While I was riding at Thunder Bay I was living deep in Charlotte so it took us a while to get there.  After we moved to Waxhaw my dad got a job at Marvin Ridge Middle so I needed to look for an after school program. We found that Carolina Country Acres (CCA) had one.  CCA is where I really started riding. I trained with Coti Hausman and I had so much fun, Coti taught me how to half seat at the canter and she also taught me so much more about riding.  After about 3 years, Coti went to work at Robindale Farm, and so I started riding with Alicia Wilkinson for lessons and with Chelsea Dressler for IEA.

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One Christmas, I woke up and I went downstairs, saw my gifts from Santa and then went out to the barn to feed the horses that we were fostering at the time.  As I walked into the barn I saw Red, my favorite horse at CCA.  I was so happy to get my first horse, and Red is now 30 and still galloping and healthy.  He is the very best horse I’ve ever known and he receives a lot of attention when friends or family come over.  He is so safe and anyone can ride him. He deserves a relaxing life now that he is retired.

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After a little while I realized that it was time for me to lease a horse so that I could begin competing in larger horse shows.  Then I found Charlie, a 15 year old Chestnut Thoroughbred.  In doing so I found such a wonderful trainer, Valentina Timpone. I have been riding Charlie for the past nine months and I have done a lot of C shows with Charlie.  I have learned so much in a very short time from Valentina and it has resulted in some great shows and lots of ribbons!  Just recently, my very loving and supporting parents bought Charlie for me and I am so thankful for that.

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My dream is to one day ride on the University of Georgia Equestrian team. I had the opportunity to go to one of UGA’s riding competitions earlier this fall.  I met the coach of the equestrian team and she gave me some great tips on what I need to do as I move into high school to advance to that level of riding.  She explained that good grades are as important as improving my riding skills, so I have a lot of work to do!! But, it’s worth it!

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