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On the Bright Side

January 5, 2013

Area teen wins equestrian crowns

A Bainbridge teen recently rode her way to two world titles.

Jenna Nordberg, a seventh-grader at Bainbridge-Guilford Central School, brought home two reserve titles from the Morgan Grand National and World Championships held Oct. 6 to 13 in Oklahoma City. Show secretary Peggy Hatfield said the show brings about 1,100 Morgan horses and their riders from 45 states and Canada to compete in a variety of categories.

Nordberg qualified at a regional show and preliminary rounds before competing in the Walk, Trot and Canter category in the final events.

She won second place in the World Champion Saddle Seat Junior Equitation and United Professional Horseman’s Association Morgan Junior Challenge Cup, both for ages 13 and under.

As an equitation rider, she is judged on total body position maintained during her performance. The precision and neatness of both horse and rider are judged.

“It was amazing,” Nordberg said about the victories. “There is no better feeling.” It made her feel that all her hard work was worth it, she said. She admitted to having felt butterflies before competing but she just “went in and did it.”

While she has won numerous awards over the years, these were the most prestigious, she said.

Nordberg competed with the family horse, 7-year-old MEM Star Power, nicknamed Earl. She keeps him in training at Lingering Hills Stable in Afton.

Owner Mary Neidlinger has been working with Nordberg since she was 7. Her son, Travis Neidlinger, is the horse’s trainer.

“She has a beautiful look on a horse and works really hard, training seven days a week,” she said about her student. She rides Earl two days a week, and the rest of the time rides other horses to keep him fresh. “She is really dedicated and she works really hard.”

Through the stable, Nordberg and several others attend shows regionally and nationally.

Several other students won recognition at the Oklahoma show, Neidlinger said, including Julia Strier from Guilford.

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