Sheldon competed in two NWSS inaugual youth events |

Sheldon competed in two NWSS inaugual youth events

Holly Hovander Sheldon
Hovander Family Paints and Sheldon Performance Horses
Kaylynn Sheldon and Hickory performed to the song “Homeboy” by Eric Church.
Photo by Laura Cowen

Kaylynn Sheldon and her grey, solid bred paint mare, Hickory on the Moon, had stellar success at the 2019 National Western Stock Show in Denver. The pair were honored to be invited to two inaugural youth events, The Ranch Horse Mentor Match Up Competition and The Dodge Ram Youth Freestyle Exhibition. They were the only pair to receive invitations to both events.

The Ranch Horse Mentor Match Up paired each of 10 select youths with their own professional instructor for half a day to work on flag, cattle, trail, ranch pleasure, roping, reining and horsemanship. This was followed by a ranch horse style competition. Sheldon was paired with Jesse Jolly of The Jolly Cattle Ranch in Agate, Colo. In the competition, Sheldon and Hickory won trail, reining and ranch pleasure. They finished as the Overall Reserve Champions, taking home a $1,000 scholarship.

The next day, Sheldon was one of three youth to perform an exhibition reining freestyle to open the NWSS $20,000 Invitational Freestyle Reining. She and Hickory performed to the song “Homeboy” by Eric Church. The story in the song is about a boy that has drifted from family values and his brother is trying to bring him back. By the end of the song, the brother, after countless efforts, finally gets his wish and homeboy comes home. Sheldon said she chose this song because she wanted to convey that people experience different stages in life that might take them in different directions, but you can always count on coming back to your roots and your family, no matter what. To demonstrate this idea in her performance, Sheldon executed a complete change of clothing, from thug to western, while spinning her horse. Sheldon said being invited to and participating in this freestyle was her most proud moment.

Hickory on the Moon is by Full Moon Fritz, a chestnut overo stallion owned by Sheldon’s family, Hovander Family Paints and Sheldon Performance Horses, located in Fort Lupton, Colo.

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Hickory was raised and trained by Sheldon herself. The pair also competes on the Laramie County Community College Ranch Horse Versatility Team in Cheyenne, Wyo., where Sheldon is attending college and majoring in dental hygiene. ❖

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