CHATTANOOGA, Okla. (TNN) - A Chattanooga teenager represented Southwest Oklahoma well this past weekend at two horse competitions in Las Vegas.
Competing against trainers around the world, Gracie Lovett earned youth overall high point winner.
A passion for horses is what keeps 16-year-old Gracie Lovett going.
She’s found her niche in training horses that might not be other people’s first choice.
“Mustangs aren’t just scary monsters or anything like that. They are horses and they are capable of being trained just like any other horse and you get to be part of their story because without you they could be starving in the wild but you get to showcase the fact that they’re not wild animals for very long, they’re just like any other horse," said Lovett.
Gracie spends around 3 days every week working with them.
She starting putting her training skills to the test with what's called the TIP Challenge, two years ago.
“The Las Vegas Tip Challenge is where you get a mustang, you get to train it for 100 days, so at the show, you get to showcase what you worked on them with and you can enter whatever classes you want,” Lovette said.
The first year she competed Gracie and her horse, Cinder earned 7th place.
This year, she went back with Lakota and placed 9th.
Gracie decided to really challenge herself, by entering in the Mustang Challenge.
Also in Vegas, this challenge brings the top horse trainers of all ages to one place to showcase their work.
She ended up bringing home youth high point, meaning she had the highest score overall.
“It’s a special bond between them and so that’s what’s really cool about that is the bond that they developed. That horse trust her a whole lot more than she trusts me,” said Gracie’s dad, Scott Lovett.
Gracie says the biggest thing she’s learned from breaking and training the horses, is you get what you put into it. “I mean, this horse right here is capable of anything you want her to do, but it’s the effort that you put in is what’s going to get here there.”
Gracie isn’t sure if she wants to compete next year just yet.