In the world of horse showing, Donovan Taylor has just captured the highest honour a boy could win.
Taylor and his horse, “Chicago,” walked away as champions in the Lead Line class at the World Wide Paint Horse Congress in Wichita, Kan. this past weekend.
The top honour is one that many would be proud to have won but Taylor’s win is made even more remarkable by the fact he is only six years old.
“He competed in the 11 and under group,” his mother, Dawnn, said Tuesday. “He was competing against much older kids. He even beat last year’s national champion.
“He did really good, he was up against the best of the best,” she enthused.
Riding since he was three, Taylor trains at his grandmother’s ranch, Duncan Ridge in Ray, Mn.
The week-long event, which saw many riders competing from across the U.S. and Canada, is one of the premiere horse showing events in the world.
At the competition, riders compete in five different classes—Halter, Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, Trail, and Lead Line.
In addition to his win in the Lead Line division, the youngster also placed sixth in Trail and 10th in Western Pleasure.
“This win was important,” his mother noted. “It was our last competition together in the Lead Line. Next competition, Donovan will be in the Walk Trot class.”
Taylor’s partner is an eight-year-old gelding that has only been showing in the paint class division for two years.
“We really did not expect this horse to come this far,” Dawnn Taylor admitted. “To have won this competition in such a short period time is quite remarkable.
“It had come down to two of us, Donovan and last year’s national champion,” she recalled. “I was sure last year’s national champion had won it.
“I patted Donovan on the shoulder to say it was o.k., then when they called out the second-place winner and it wasn’t us, we went nuts.”
When Donovan realized he had won the prestigious competition, he pumped the air with his arm—much to the delight of the audience.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “There were lots of big champions screaming for me.”
Now back home from the big event, young Taylor is still trying to get used to the idea that he’s won a very high honour.
“It has taken a good day or two for the whole thing to sink in,” his mother said. “He asked me the other day if he had won the big show. When I told him that he had, he asked me if I had ever won the big show.
“I told him that at his age, I would have just been happy to have won a ribbon.”
Next April, Donovan will be attending a competition in Valley City, N.D., where he will be competing in the walk trot class with Chicago.
When asked what he would like to win next, Taylor never hesitated. “I want to win the World Show [in Fort Worth, Texas],” he said.