In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.
It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25.
We picked this Young Gun back then, and last week she proved her competitive spunk in amplitude by winning the Limited Non-Pro Derby (l2) at the Las Vegas High Roller Classic!
Atta\’ be, Haley Franc!
Hayley Franc(Nominated for Competitive) Age: 15 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Haley Franc began riding horses when she was just six. After a few years of riding in 4-H and competing in all-around events, Franc wanted a bit more of a challenge. The young girl turned her attention to the reining discipline. “Reining is challenging, but I love it. There is so much work, training and dedication involved. It is so rewarding when you can see improvements in yourself and your horse,” tells Franc.
Franc competed at the 2012 North American Junior and Young Rider Championship in Lexington, Kentucky as part of Team Canada, where the junior team took home the silver medal for their country and the youth team captured the bronze medal. Franc also marked a 212 on her gelding Jacs Shy Boy to take the individual gold medal.
“The NAJYRC was such an incredible experience. Showing at the Kentucky Horse Park in the Alltech arena and competing for Team Canada was a dream come true. When they raised the Canadian flag and played our anthem at the closing ceremonies, I was overwhelmed with this amazing feeling – I was so proud of my horse, myself and my team for representing Canada.”
Franc received the JR Equestrian award, presented by Equine Canada. The Gillian Wilson trophy is presented to the junior competitor who has made outstanding contributions to equestrian competition and who have exemplified exceptional talent, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport.
Franc attributes much of her success to her coach, Locke Duce of High River, Alberta. “Locke teaches me patience and to keep things simple and correct. He makes sure I understand everything that he tells me and keeps it positive. Locke knows so much and has so many exercises to benefit every horse and then a backup plan for that too. He helps me to be confident when preparing, training and showing my horses. He lets me think I can do it.”
Franc’s future goals include once again qualifying for and competing at the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships, applying for the AQHA’s 2014 Youth World Cup and competing at some large reining competitions, including the High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas.
“My favorite thing about reining is that it’s very challenging. We are always working on something and then making it the best it can be. I love that every reiner understands what it takes to get a horse ready to show and always working towards improvements in themselves and their horses.”
~ Deanna Beckley