|This Teenage Young Lady is Sugar & Spice, Everything Horse|
While most 16-year-old girls spend their spare time shopping, texting and hanging out with friends, this Walker County High student spends hers practicing for band or working with her numerous horses. This young lady literally lives and breathes horses. She is an honor student in school and has been a member of the high school band for two years. But her real passion is horses; you can see that when you talk to her or watch her working with her horses. Meet Miranda Dobbins from Nauvoo.
Miranda’s love for horses began early and by the time she was six years old, she was riding alone. At age seven, she was competing in local shows and winning. She competes in several different disciplines including halter, Western pleasure, English pleasure, timed events and trail competitions. For two years, she has competed in extreme trail competitions locally, which prepared her for the Alabama Horse Council’s Ultimate Trail Horse Competition in Montgomery, where she was Alabama High Point Youth.
Miranda has a positive attitude and excellent work ethic which has been instilled in her by her mother, Deb, who is a single parent raising two daughters, Miranda and Brianna (age 11). Miranda works full time and attends UAB. She also attributes a lot to friend and neighbor, Dale "Snap" Lively of Extreme Mustang Makeover fame. Snap’s experience, attitude and patience make him the perfect mentor for Dobbins in her quest for horse knowledge.
Last year they traveled to Fort Worth, TX, to watch Snap as he competed in the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition with the horse selected for him, Uno. While there, Miranda adopted a roan yearling mustang she named Swinger. The colt was so willing to please, trusting and eager to learn she applied to be a youth trainer in the Extreme Mustang Makeover Mission 08. This competition is for youth trainers and yearling mustangs. Miranda was selected as one of 25 youth trainers from across the nation. Each of them received a yearling selected for them to take home for 90 days, train to perform specific tasks as well as anything the trainer feels will enhance their performance, and then go to Fort Worth to compete on September 19 and 20, 2009. Miranda picked her yearling up at the Pauls Valley, Adoption Center in Oklahoma on June 12, 2009. The yearling turned out to be a filly which Dobbins named Miss Unique, affectionately known as Missy.
The training began in the trailer on the way back to Nauvoo with some flexing, petting and soothing talk. Ninety days seems like a long time, but becomes fast paced when you have specific things you have to accomplish in that time frame and you are dealing with an animal whose experience with humans hasn’t been exactly pleasant up to that point. Miss Unique is aptly named because she is a willing, trusting partner that has bonded completely with her trainer.
What will you be judged on and what tasks is your yearling required to perform?
"The overall score is divided into 40 percent on condition and 60 percent on ground work. The condition score includes overall health, hoof condition, body condition, hair coat and general appearance. I feed Horizon Champion Choice to my horses because of the way it makes them shine and perform, so the condition part will be easy. The ground work requirements are manners, must walk, trot, stop, back, lead over poles, pick up all four feet, and load and unload in a trailer. The last part or finals is a four minute free-style routine which must include walk, trot, turn right and left, and back, as well as anything creative the trainer thinks will showcase the yearling’s training and athletic ability."
At this writing, Missy is doing all of the required tasks plus several others which will remain a secret until Fort Worth.
What are your short and long-term goals?
"My short-term goals are to continue to learn and improve my horse work and to build on my training abilities. Also, to continue my band involvement and acquire as many college scholarships as possible. Long-term, I would like to attend college, compete on an equestrian team, get accepted to veterinary school after undergraduate school and become an equine clinician to train people to get the most enjoyment and performance from their equine partners."
Who has influenced your passion for horses and inspired you to strive for excellence?
"My mother, Deb, of course; she has always made sure I had the horses and equipment to succeed and made sure we got to the shows to compete. The other person who has inspired me to always move to the next level and always be open-minded to learning new things is Dale ‘Snap’ Lively. Snap’s love and understanding of horses is awesome and I am very lucky and grateful to be able to ride and learn with him. He is a gentle, patient man who has a natural affinity for training horses and helping people to enjoy their equine friends to the max."
Miranda is a goal-oriented young lady with a work ethic that is rare in a 16-year-old. She knows what she wants to do and is working hard to achieve those goals. The competition in Fort Worth is something she is doing to increase her understanding of the horse and also hopes to increase her college fund as the top prize is $1,500 in scholarship money to be used at any school. Miranda can be reached by calling Dale Lively at (205) 275-9138.
We at her local Quality Co-op are proud to sponsor Miranda with Champions Choice horse feed for Miss Unique until the competition. The yearlings will all be auctioned at the end of the competition.
We are wishing Miss Dobbins the best and success in her quest for an education and equine knowledge.
Your local Quality Co-op supports Alabama’s youth in agriculture as they are our future. We have all your equine needs and wants for feed, tack and animal health. If we don’t have the item you need, we will be glad to order it for you. We appreciate and value your patronage and will strive to earn and keep your business.
Don Linker is an outside salesman for AFC.