Roberts selected for horse program

GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis

KHS student Jordan Roberts has been selected for the American Quarter Horse Association's Young Horse Development Program. Her horse, Millie, is now eight months old.

Each day, Kemmerer sophomore Jordan Roberts takes care of her horses in her family’s barn.

When it’s time to compete in a horse show, Jordan and her family wake up early to get the horses ready. They travel across Wyoming and Utah, and even to Las Vegas and Oklahoma. Jordan works hard to make sure the horses look good and are ready for competitions. 

That hard work paid off when Jordan was selected for the American Quarter Horse Association’s (AQHA) Young Horse Development Program. AQHA breeders donate weanlings to program participants to raise and train.

Jordan is one of 60 youth across the country chosen to participate in the program, and one of only three Wyomingites chosen. Jordan received her filly, Millie, in December from an AQHA Ranch Heritage Breeder out of Colorado.

“I love working with horses because you get to know their personalities,” Jordan said. “All horses are a little different, so it’s about learning how their minds work. Millie is the first mare I’ve owned, and she definitely has her mood changes, but she loves to be rubbed.”

Jordan said the application process for the program involved sending the AQHA photos of her family’s property, a detailed account of what they would feed the horse and her plan to take care of Millie.

As part of the program, Jordan has to submit monthly reports, pictures and videos showing her progress with Millie, who is now eight months old. She will also present Millie at AQHA horse shows, and participate in webinars with program participants across the nation. Jordan is also required to pay for the expenses of her new filly. She is eligible for scholarships and prizes once she completes the program.   

“I’ve always been around horses,” Jordan said. “And ever since the first year I competed at a horse show, I was hooked.”

Jordan and her twin sister Jami are the daughters of Robin and Steven Roberts. Their mom said the girls have been competing in AQHA horse shows since they were eight years old. Together, the girls have earned more than 100 belt buckles and trophies from horse shows. They also teach lessons to local youth on riding and taking care of horses.

“Their work ethic is incredible,” said Jordan’s mom Robin. “(My girls) can outwork most grown men. Jordan has three jobs to pay for her horse.”

Jordan and Jami Roberts have been competing in AQHA horse shows since they were eight years old. Jordan has been chosen to participate in the AQHA Young Horse Development Program.

Jordan has won an AQHA champion award, a youth all-around award, and dozens of trophies and belt buckles at competitions for her horses’ appearance and her workmanship skills. She said raising Millie is a challenge, but she enjoys it.

“I just want to raise her to be a healthy horse,” Jordan said. “I’m still learning a lot, but I talk to my dad and other horsemen who help me out.”

Jordan wants to be an equine surgeon after she finishes her education.

“I’ve always wanted to be some kind of vet, so it just took me a while to figure out what kind,” Jordan said.

Jordan said she wants to educate local youth and ranchers about the opportunities offered by the American Quarter Horse Association, including the Young Horse Development Program.

“I want to let kids know that this is an option to get involved with these programs and earn scholarships,” Jordan said. “I want to set up a seminar to tell people how it works.”

Robin agrees that raising and showing horses is a lot of work with a great reward for youth.

“It’s a whole different world learning to handle something with a mind of its own,” Robin said. “It takes a lot of money and work, but to see what they’ve accomplished, that’s really cool for me as a mom. The confidence they have when they walk into that arena — they’re not just kids anymore. They’re here to win.”

“It’s a really cool feeling to get that trophy or buckle,” Jordan said. “It’s a lot of work every day, but it teaches a lot of responsibility, and the fundamentals of raising a horse.”