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North High student rides high

Miller places in Virginia horse show competition

Miller places in Virginia horse show competition

December 16, 2009|By KATIE FITZGERALD / Pulse correspondent

Alissa Miller, a junior at North Hagerstown High School, competed in November at the Virginia Horse Shows Association (VHSA) finals in Lexington, Va.

Alissa placed sixth out of 60 in the Junior Hunter Pleasure division.

Alissa has been riding horses for nine years and she's not stopping anytime soon. Boots, her horse, is a quarter horse-appaloosa and she competes in at least 20 shows a year.

But why in Lexington?

"Because I knew there would be colleges there so I could get exposure, and if I would want to sell my horse, the price would go up significantly," she said.

In order to compete in the VHSA finals, Alissa had to first place in the top six in five qualifying shows. Alissa did outstanding in the qualifiers; placing above sixth in all five.

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So off she went to Lexington, though there was another obstacle in her path -- expenses.

"My mom and I had to get a hotel room for the entire weekend, Boots stayed in a stall for $100 a night, the braider was $80, class fee was $50 and warm up was $30," she said.

On top of that, Alissa said she had to be at the barn by 4:45 a.m. to be out in the arena by 5.

While she was in Lexington, Alissa competed in six classes. Within the Junior Hunter Pleasure, Alissa was called back three times.

She said she felt nervous and excited, but she knew that she had to calm Boots down because she was so rallied up by the crowd and flashing cameras.

Boots pulled through and placed sixth.

"I am so happy with my results," Alissa said. "I just went out there and did the best that I could."

Because Alissa competed in the VHSA finals, she can go back next year without having to compete in any qualifiers.

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