By: Brittany Bevis
The last time we interviewed Nya Kearns at the AQHA Youth World Show was back in 2010, when, at the age of ten, she was the youngest rider to make it back to the Equitation finals. She’s been turning out consistent performances ever since, but this is her first World Championship title.
Nya’s partner for this evening’s class was BMQ Stop For Traffic, aka “Merlin the Magic Horse.” This dynamic, young duo competes under the guidance of her father Brad Kearns, mother Valerie Kearns, and her Over Fences trainer Jennifer Wellhouse.
“Merlin is a very happy horse,” Nya says. “I’ve never seen him be sad or in a bad mood. He’s very food-motivated. Every time we give him Ulcerguard, he thinks it’s a treat because of the little wrapper it comes in. Also, he’s a little clumsy and not the smartest horse. You have to make him anticipate everything, because he never sees anything coming!”
Merlin’s ability not to anticipate maneuvers served Nya well in tonight’s tough Equitation pattern that consisted of an introduction without irons, lead change, multiple hand gallops, and symmetrical circles.
“I actually really liked the pattern,” she says. “I thought starting it off with a more difficult maneuver kind of set the pace for the whole pattern. I thought drawing the circles was very interesting and difficult.”
“We’ve been working on riding without stirrups since my first Youth World, so I was ready. I was excited, because I’ve never gotten to do a finals patterns without my stirrups before. I think my favorite part was the lead change, to the collection, to the hand gallop down the long wall. That part was very pretty to watch.”
Also here at the Youth World, Nya placed sixth in Equitation Over Fences with Beyond Captivating and was a finalist in Jumping with Beyond Captivating and Rockin Kelvis.
Now that the Youth World has concluded for Nya, she’s planning to head back to school, but not before she goes on a Wisconsin wake boarding trip with Wellhouse!
The Reserve World Champion was Francesca Selvaggio with Elite Iron. Third place was Harley Huff with GW Jack Bar. Fourth place Madison Anger with Ridinonmycoattails. Fifth place was Alexis Taylor with Aint Life Sweet. Sixth place was Grace Baum with Red Hot Details. Seventh place was Calley Huston with Colossal Asset. Eighth place was Natalia DeVencenty with Chex Is The Choice. Ninth place was Kaylee Mellott with Only In Showbiz. Tenth place was Cydney Benes with Call Me Blazin Hot.