Ten years of dedicated training paid off in a big way for SMA junior Allee Potts in February, when she earned the High-Point Award at the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) competition at the San Antonio Stock Show.
With the award came a $10,000 scholarship to any 4-year university, which Allee said will come in handy as she narrows down her college options next year.
A two-day event, the Paint Horse Show included seven different categories: Showmanship, Halter, English Hunter Under Saddle, English Equitation, Western Pleasure, Western Horsemanship and Reining. Allee’s point total put her at the top of the field, ahead of more than 20 other competitors.
The High-Point Award is just one of many honors Allee has received in her sport.
“I compete about once a month during most of the year and more often in the summer,” Allee said. “I participate in the World APHA competition each June and the NSBA [National Snaffle Bit Association] World Competition each August. I have won Top Ten placings at each of these World show events for three years in a row, and they are definitely the most competitive of shows that I attend.”
To keep her competitive edge, Allee practices an average of four or five times each week. Sometimes, however, other activities take precedence. One of those recent activities was the SMA basketball team, on which Allee was a starting varsity player. The team emerged from the state T-CAL tournament with a 3-A championship title at the end of February, bringing an end to a particularly busy time for the local honors student.
“Even though my schedule gets very busy at times, I love to compete and enjoy traveling to shows with my mom and aunt,” Allee said. “I began riding at about the age of 6 with my aunt, Ashley Roberts, who has ridden and competed in equestrian events most of her life. That’s what got me started. I also enjoy getting to ride and compete with my sister.”
Her sister, Ana, is a freshman at SMA and was also a teammate on the girls basketball team.
For those who aren’t familiar with different breeds of horses, a paint is a quarter horse with “paint” or white markings. “Both quarter horses and paint horses have the style of riding competitions that I enjoy competing in, including Western Horsemanship, Western Riding, Showmanship, and the English events,” Allee said. “I like to work with my horse and grow as a team. I especially enjoy the competitions. I also enjoy the relationships with my family that horses help to build.”
After graduating from the Academy, Allee said she hopes to continue her riding on the college level, where she plans to participate primarily in Western Horsemanship events. “Equestrian riding is an NCAA sport, and there are 10 major colleges and universities that have especially strong programs,” Allee said. “My first choice is Texas A&M, but other schools that I would consider would be Baylor, Georgia, Auburn, and South Carolina.”
For now, Allee will continue to juggle her riding schedule with a full load of classes and other activities at SMA. “It is a challenge to schedule riding practices and competitions with the other commitments that I have,” Allee admitted. “But I enjoy riding as a sport and for fun, so I don’t mind the challenge.”
–By Shelley Henry