Photo courtesy of Carroll Brown Arnold.
Austria Arnold, an eighth grade student at The Hockaday School, was named the 2011 Youth High-Point Cutter by the American Quarter Horse Association after she competed in a cutting competition and won the title.
Cutting involves having a horse and rider move through a herd of cattle, select a cow from the pack, drive the cow to the middle of the arena, and keep it separated from the group, according to a news release about Arnold's achievement.
The two-and-a-half minute matches judge the "ability, cow sense, courage and pure athleticism" of the rider and the horse to keep a cow seperated from the herd.
"Winning the AQHA High-Point is especially sweet for several reasons," Arnold said. "I have been around horses and competition all of my life, so this was certainly a dream for me and my parents. But it is such a great win because I had so much support to get it done."
Arnold rode a gelding Haidas Heritage during the 12 months of competition to win the title.
The AQHA is located in Amarillo and is the biggest equine breed registry and membership association not only in the United States but also in the world.
Arnold has won several equestrian awards throughout her life, including the 2009 Lone Star High School Rodeo Association's Junior All-Around Cowgirl. In addition to competing in equestrian competitions, Arnold plays field hockey, soccer and lacrosse and is even an editor for her middle school newspaper.