Andrew McNutt developed a passion for horses when he was nine. He entered
SALMON RIVER - Salmon River teen Andrew McNutt and his quarter horse Rich have been working tirelessly preparing for a competition of a lifetime.
Next month, the 18-year-old will head to Oklahoma City to show his horse with the best of the best in his division at the Ford American Quarter Horse Association world championship show.
"Last year was a very good year for us," said McNutt. "We won nearly every show we competed in and worked as a really good team."
He qualified for a spot in the world competition by earning a predetermined number of points at American Quarter Horses Association-approved shows in the hunter under saddle and showmanship divisions at the national level from May to September 2008.
Since then, he has been training independently away from the show circuit to focus on academics. He graduates from CEC on Friday.
McNutt's love for horses began at age 9 after experiencing his first trail ride on a quarter horse during a family vacation in
Once he returned home he began taking horse-riding lessons, and at age 11, entered his first competition, showing a palomino quarter horse.
"It's something I'm good at," said McNutt. "Something I can win at and working with the animals is a good experience. It's something you grow to love."
The young man has competed all over Canada and the United States at high-level events, earning a number of top prizes.
He has had his eye on the world championship show for years and can't wait to get there.
"I'm very excited," said the teenager. "It's going to be a lifetime opportunity."
He feels a great sense of achievement but hasn't lost sight of the road ahead and has been working hard to stay in top form while reviewing last year's successes and failures at the show.
"You must study the best who have been there and mimic them, do as they do," he said.
"You have to learn to excel under pressure. If you don't you won't achieve anything.
"All that pressure and stress that is put on you, you have to turn it around and use it as confidence."
McNutt and his mom Eileen will head out on the 4,000-kilometer journey, and will arrive a couple of days prior to the opening of the week-long show from July 31 to Aug. 8.