By Andrea Camarena

Woodlake's Katelyn Brown may only be 12 but on a horse, she's an old pro. Brown has spent her whole life around horses and three year's ago, at age 9, she turned competitive, doing barrel races. In 2006, Brown wanted more of a challenge and took her talent to the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA). Performing patterns and cow boxing.

&#8220I wanted a faster barrel horse and my trainer Joey Armstrong, told me he had a horse for me to try,” Brown said.

Brown's family bought the horse &#8220Colonel Sassy Star,” a three-time World contender and started training for NRCHA competition instead of barrel racing.

Brown's yearlong success took her to the NRCHA World Show Finals in Stephansville, Texas on Feb. 21 and 24.

Brown, in her first season competing in the sport, took ninth place in the world with the Colonel, affectionately known as &#8220Tar Baby.

Their appearance at the World Show was the icing on a successful season at competitions in Paso Robles, Fresno, Reno and other locations throughout the region.

She finished in ninth place in the Youth Limited Division after qualifying at the Preliminaries on Feb. 21.

The Woodlake Valley Middle School student practices every other day from February through March, which is the stretch of the NRCHA season and has had no trouble memorizing the 5-minute pattern that she must take Tar Baby through.

&#8220We're like one,” Brown said. &#8220If I'm thinking something, she'll be thinking the same thing.”

She's not the only local girl who takes an interest in the sport.

Exeter Union High School's Amanda Lawrence made her third appearance at the NRCHA World Show and tied for third place in the Youth Bridle competition. The Youth Bridle division requires participants to memorize a 5-minute pattern with their horses, box a cow and then finish with fence work.

On her horse &#8220Bull,” Lawrence, has qualified for the World Show four times and gave her best performances on Feb. 21 and 24.

Lawrence is also an old pro on the back of Bull. She's been competing with Bull for five years now and practices every day at Whitney Ranch in Exeter. She keeps busy in the equestrian world with horse judging and high school rodeo.

Both Lawrence and Brown won the National Cow Horse competition at the Spring Classic last year and were year-end champions for the Valley Cow Horse Club in 2006.

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