LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Our FFA 4-H Friend of the Week has spent the last several years on the back of her horse, Ladybug, competing across the state. Learn how passion and hard work have lead to success for Cotton County 4-H member, Stephanie Mason.
Mason started riding horses at 10 years old after being inspired by her mother.
“My mom started riding horses after a long break and I just liked riding," said Mason. "So whenever I started riding, I was riding a pony.”
Mason became interested in making her family’s horse, Ladybug, her own, so she made a deal with her mom.
“She rode faithfully a minimum of four days a week for an entire year,” said Cynthia Phariss, Stephanie’s mother. “That was the agreement that she had to do to be able to earn ladybug as her horse, and she did it.”
Mason ended up winning a saddle at the Grand National Horseman Association Plate A Finals. Since then, Mason and Ladybug have made quite the team.
“Her and I won state two years in a row for stakes, just a regular figure 8 pattern,” said Mason. “I won the speed events and then this year won poles, and that was the best run we’ve had in a while.”
“She is the only person from Cotton County to be representing Cotton County at the state horse show," said Phariss. "She’s done it every year.”
Now that Mason’s 4-H career is coming to a close, she reflects on one of her favorite memories: Competing at last year’s 4-H horse show.
“This past year we managed to run the fastest time we’ve ever ran, and this year ran the same," said Mason. "But last year was really an amazing time, because of the fact it was our first buckle and we tried for years to win one.”
Mason said being a member of 4-H has helped build her confidence.
“You have that bond with those animals. It builds confidence in that person and it helps build friendships, as well," said Mason. "You meet really amazing people through both organizations.”
Mason said she will continue riding in rodeos and barrel races, representing Walters and Cotton County wherever she goes.