July 16, 2009 at 7:22 a.m.
Her grandma and mom are the influence behind Schultz's love of horseback riding, which has continued throughout most of her 19 years.
Schultz, who has lived in Lindstrom her whole life, doesn't remember a time when she wasn't riding horses with her grandma and mom and her teachers.
At the age of 4, she was given her first pony, named Tom. The pony helped introduce her to more competitive, trick riding, as Schultz did gymnastics on his back. From there, it was a natural transition into riding competitions and joining 4-H at the age of 6.
"Doing those tricks taught me to be a better ridger," Schultz said.
Now Schultz is a mentor and role model for young 4-H riders. She just completed her first year at Winona State University, but spent considerable time back home, competing nearly every weekend or simply spending the time with her horses.
As a member of the Club of the Dalles 4-H, Schultz has spent a lot of time at the Chisago County Fairgrounds in Rush City. Each year, she was there with her horses to compete in 4-H horse events. At the same time, Schultz competed in Western Saddle Club Association (WSCA) shows, starting at the age of 10.
Being in horse shows and 4-H have been great lifelong experiences for Schultz.
"It's been great," she said. "It really teaches you a lot about yourself, and to be true to yourself. You learn to get along with everyone too."
Which hasn't been difficult, she adds. Schultz has always been quick to make friends through her riding, and enjoys the social aspects of the horse clubs as much as the competition. She has reigned as the queen of her 4-H club after winning the crown, and also as queen of the state WSCA chapter for 2008-09. She also won the title of Miss Congeniality.
"It's just fun because you get to know a lot of people and I've always liked making new friends," Schultz said. She feels like her fellow riders and club members are an extended family.
This is the first year that Schultz cannot compete in 4-H (18 years old is the maximum age for 4-H), but she will still be very busy at the County Fair this weekend.
As a member of the Wild River Riders WSCA Club, she will be competing Friday through Sunday in various events. These include barrel racings, pole weaving, speed events and pleasure events such as Western riding.
When she's not riding this weekend, Schultz surely won't be too far from the 4-H barn and horse ring, ready to lend a hand to any of her former club members who need help. She thoroughly enjoys stepping up to offer advice, guidance or help, and loves being a mentor to the next generation of riders.
The Chisago County Fair runs today through Sunday at the Rush City Fairgrounds.
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