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Ardrey Kell’s Folks rides to top

One local sophomore is on her way to being an expert in barn and horse safety and good riding skills. That’s why her scramble team placed third overall in equestrian knowledge at the U.S. Pony Club’s East Coast National Championships in Lexington, Va., July 26 through 29.

Casey Folks, a sophomore at Ardrey Kell High School, has been riding horses since she was 4 and has been in the Pony Club – a national organization dedicated to developing character, leadership and confidence through a program that teaches care of horses, riding and mounted sports – for four years.

Casey was the only student in her division from North Carolina, teamed with three other kids from Minnesota all with experience in the national competition, for the quiz rally. As the captain of her team, she said the questions, which covered proper riding skills, horse management, barn management and equine equipment, could sometimes be difficult, but with her training and studying, she said her team had it covered.

“Basically just riding for 10 years, getting involved in Pony Club and reading about horses helped prepare me,” Casey said.

The 14-year-old placed second earlier this year individually in knowledge at the Carolina Regional Rally in Columbia, S.C.

Casey also enjoys riding horses, competing last year in jumping, her dad, Vaughn Folks, said.

But this year, Casey is in a transitional time, practicing skills in dressage, or, the ballot of horsemanship, as Vaughn described it.

“She has her own horse; she is an accomplished rider. She was changing horses and changing disciplines this spring,” he said. “Next year’s goal is to compete in dressage – she’s already established that.”

“I would say the benefits she has (received) from this program include a sense of self discipline, goal setting, achievement, responsibility and furthered her knowledge of overall horse management and equine management,” Vaughn Folks said.

Morgan Smith,

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