Lowndes teen wins big at horse competition - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes teen wins big at horse competition

A Lowndes County girl is one of the top young barrel racers in the country.

14-year old Whitney Bender was a big winner at the National Barrel Horse Association Youth World Competition.

Whitney Bender isn't just horsing around this summer. She's a serious barrel racer who just got back from the National Barrel Horse Association Youth World competition in Mississippi.

 "It was amazing and just running in it was a gift from God," said Bender.

She competed in three rounds, winning cash and a shiny new belt buckle.

She loves the adrenaline rush from the sport as she rides at top speeds around the barrels.

"Just the nerves you have," said Bender. "You release it all and you run as best as possible making the tightest turns as you can going around the barrels."

She got the fastest time in one of her rounds for her division last week, 15.5 seconds, earning her a first place.

Her instructor Kim McGhee trusts her skills and let her borrow the 16-year old Banjo the horse for the competition.

"It just takes a lot of discipline, dedication, having horsemanship skills," said Kim Maghee, the owner of KB Horse Camp. "You have to know how to take care of the horse all week long."

To be successful at barrel racing, both the rider and the horse have to work together as a team.

Whitney Bender has been taking lessons at KB Horse Camp since she was six years old and one day she hopes to become a professional barrel racer.

Whitney hopes to earn a scholarship to a college that has a rodeo team.

She wants to become a veterinarian and specialize in treating horses.

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