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Region Six: July 20

This ballerina learned to keep her heels down at the 2013 AQHA Region Six Championship.

By Krissy Mailman
The American Quarter Horse Journal
July 21, 2013

Keisha Capitola and Certified Leaguer

Keisha Capitola and Certified Leaguer were third in the Novice amateur hunter under saddle. (Krissy Mailman photo)

When Keisha Capitola of Scarborough, Maine, enters the arena, she thinks of it as a curtain call. The only difference is her partner.

The Journal met Keisha at the 2013 AQHA Region Six Championship in Massachusetts.

“I’m use to performing,” Keisha said. “But that’s with a team of dancers, not a horse.”

The Region Six Championship marks Keisha’s third show. She’s been riding less than a year and had some major ground to cover before show season started. One of the biggest challenges for her is remembering to keep her heels down.

“There is no such thing as heels down in ballet,” Keisha said. “You definitely use different muscles riding a horse.”

Keisha initially got bit by the horse bug when she took her daughter, Taiya, to a rodeo. They both decided they would like to start riding and began going on trail rides at local stables. A few wild rides on the trail later, Keisha determined they needed to take lessons. Enter Jeff Temple of Jeff Temple Show Horses in Freeport, Maine. The mother-daughter duo is now hooked.

“Keisha has come a long way in a short time,” Jeff said. “She’s a quick learner.”

Under Jeff’s guidance, Keisha bought Certified Leaguer at the All American Quarter Horse Congress Super Sale in October.

Since then, she’s been putting as much mileage in the saddle as possible. It paid off in the Novice amateur hunter under saddle when they captured third place in the Regional Championship out of 26 horses.

“When preparing Novice riders, one of the biggest things is for them to understand what is expected at a horse show and prepare them for that,” Jeff said. “My favorite part about the teaching process is to watch one go from green to being an accomplished rider.”

Still new to the equestrian stage, Keisha is the first to admit she has to remind herself to stay cool and collected, so her nerves don’t get the best of her.

“I have to remind myself to relax, this should be fun, and it is,” Keisha said. “At the end of the class, there is a feeling of accomplishment. It’s exhilarating.”

Keisha plans to return to the Congress this October, but she won’t be horse shopping, she will be in the arena performing with her four-legged partner.

Click here to view a slideshow from Day 3 of the Region Six Championship.