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Setting her sites for The Paint Horse World Show in Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Samantha Graham is a talented, self driven young lady with a passion for horses and riding. She lives on her families� small acreage in Hilldale, (Hunter Region) NSW and has been riding for as long as she can remember. Working through Pony Club, Campdraft, Dressage, Hacking, Western pleasure, Trail and more but favors the fast events such as Barrel racing, Reining, Cutting and Hunter under saddle, you name it and she has had a go of it.

Heading to The Paint Horse World Show in Fort Worth, Texas USA has been a dream of Samantha�s� for the last 3 years, and will be realized in June this year when the Paint Horse Association of Australia�s Youth World Show Team goes to America for a month to compete. The team of individuals from Australia have spent 2 years in the top ten youth ranking of the PHAA circuit, and then selected via an essay submitted to the Board of Directors of the PHAA for their final decision.

Samantha is one of the riders in an Australian team consisting of 4 riders, 2 reserves and a reporter � Samantha Graham - age 17, Rebecca Gant - age 16, Lisa Gant - age 15, Alex Dye - age 17, Victoria Egan - age 14, Natasha Smith - age 17 and Stacey Bentley � age 13. As a team they will gain points for an overall tally and positioning in The Paint Horse World Show. The riders compete in 1 event each, Reining, Western Trail, Western Horsemanship and Western Pleasure, and then a knowledge relay and Hippology (The Study of Horses) contest.

They are given a horse which has been drawn from a hat, 1 hour to familiarize themselves with that horse and no further contact until 15 mins before they are to compete. It takes a truly skilled rider to adapt to a competitive event with a horse they have only spent an hour with. Samantha meets this challenge with enthusiasm and having trained her own horses� stands her in good stead.

Samantha has been competitively riding for 13 years and the last 4 of which have been with paint horses. Samantha has won numerous awards during her competitive career, some more recent achievements being;

- PHAA National Youth Barrel racing and Keyhole Champion
- PHAA National Open Preliminary Dressage Champion
- 2006 NSW High point youth
- 2006 Zone 25 15-17yrs Sporting Champion

2007 PHAA National Show - Photod Suplied by Francene Neurndorf

At 17 years old and in her final year at High School � HSC, training daily, traveling, competing, playing and refereeing Soccer games and just doing normal teenage activities, Samantha has a full schedule. Still she finds time to organize fund raising events to help get herself and the team to The Paint Horse World Show, with an up and coming Fashion Parade and Disco at Dungog RSL on the 19th April 2008.

Samantha is looking forward to her trip and the opportunity to compete against other youth teams from all over the world. The girls will also get the chance to visit some local horse trainers, studs and neighboring townships, during their time in America.

On asking Samantha what she hoped to achieve, she replied: �I will give it my best shot, enjoy every minute of the experience, make some new friends along the way and if we place, it would just be, icing on the cake!�

We wish Samantha and her team mates a great adventure and the very best of luck in the competition. Samantha Graham is an inspiration to other teenagers, her peers and family, we look forward to catching up with Samantha in the future.

- Anyone wishing to attend or be involved in the fundraiser at Dungog RSL can obtain more information by phoning 0412552029.

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