GMC News

Craig ready

Craig ready for horse championships
By Matthew Caldwell – The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE – Georgia Military College Prep school student Elizabeth Craig has had a busy summer.

After placing high enough in three events during the state 4-H show in Perry in June, Craig qualified for the Southern Regional 4-H Horse Championships in Montgomery, Ala., which begins Wednesday.

\”I am very excited,\” said Craig, who is 13. \”I have never been to an out-of-state show before. This will be a first for me, which is very exciting.\”

Craig qualified in three separate events – hunter (an event to show off the horse and how it is built), saddleseat (an event where the horse gets judged by its movements) and saddleseat equitation (the rider rides the horse on patterns given to them by the judges and scoring is based on how well the rider does).

\”I hope to have some clean runs,\” she said. \”It doesn\’t matter if I place just knowing that the horse and I did good. Although it would be nice to place.\”

Craig\’s horse, Bavarian Creme, is 13 years old, and she has owned the Arabian horse for two years. She rides at least an hour each day to train for the event.

\”She is a little nervous and it took us a while to bond, but we are getting closer,\” Craig said.

B.C. is a smaller horse compared to some of the other Arabian horses they will be up against.

\”Because she is kind of small and wasn\’t winning anything, that is the reason she was sold,\” Craig said. \”I can\’t wait to get there to see my competition and all of the other horses from other states.\”

During the state 4-H show in Perry, Craig finished first in the saddleseat equitation event.

\”I couldn\’t believe it because the horse has issues in the ring sometimes,\” she said. \”It definitely frazzled my mind.\”

Each of her events take place Friday morning at the Garrett Coliseum Complex. Craig and her mom Susan will leave early Wednesday morning and will head back Saturday.

\”It is exciting and nice to know she qualified and it is an honor for her to represent Georgia,\” Susan Craig said.

They will head to Alabama with another rider from Milledgeville to qualify, Jessica Mixon.

\”It\’s nice going to a show with your friend, which is one of the reasons we are going,\” Elizabeth Craig said.

If she qualifies, she hopes to return to the 2006 Southern Regional 4-H Horse Championships.

Craig has been riding horses nearly all of her life and has been taking formal lessons for the last six years. She said she got into riding horses when she was young because her mom had them and she was always around them.

Riding horses is something she wants to continue as she gets older.

\”I really enjoy it and want it to be at least a hobby for me the rest of my life,\” she said.

Craig has competed in seven events this year and believes those events not only helped her, but helped the horse prepare for the event in Montgomery.

\”Some of those were training shows that prepared you for the bigger shows, and it helps because you can get on the horse at a different place,\” she said.

The Junior Jamboree is a five-day event that takes place during June in Alpharetta. During the first three days, the riders are given instruction \”from some top notch trainers.\” Then the final two days are a rated show.

\”Those are helpful and I have learned a lot from them\” said Craig, who has attended the past two Junior Jamborees.

She was won more than 20 ribbons in the countless shows she has been in, but says her favorite one is from August 2003 during an event sanctioned by the Magnolia Arabian Horse Association. That event was just weeks after she bought her horse, B.C.

\”I was against a lot of horses and I couldn\’t believe I won,\” she said.

To reach sports writer Matthew Caldwell, call him at (478) 453-