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Youth Spotlight: Grace Wilhelm




(Editor’s Note: The following Q&A took place between the Walking Horse Report’s editorial director Sadie Fowler and youth rider Grace Wilhelm.)

WHR: Tell us about yourself, and what the important highlights of your world are these days.

Grace:
My name is Grace Wilhelm, I am 11 years old, and I am from Shelbyville, TN. I have 2 veterinarians as parents (Richard and Kristin) and an older brother in high school (Hunter). My pets include a cat I bottle-raised, 2 rabbits, and 5 dogs. We raise beef cattle and horses. My life is pretty busy with school, church, family, friends, and lots of animals!

WHR: How did you get started in the horse world and what has riding taught you?

Grace: I think I have always been in the horse world. I am a 5th generation Walking Horse owner/exhibitor on my mom's side and a 4th generation participant on my dad's side. Both of my grandfathers have had careers breeding mares and raising foals. I started showing leadline when I was 3. Riding has taught me a lot about patience, hard work, and communication. 

WHR: What is it about the walking horse that attracts you the most?

Grace:
I love Tennessee Walking Horses because they are fun to ride and so sweet!

WHR: Who is your favorite horse of all time? 

Grace: Honors. He is the most amazing World Grand Champion that I can remember.  He is so big and exciting to watch. 

WHR: What do you most enjoy about the industry in terms of the friendships you’ve made?

Grace: I enjoy showing and hanging out with my friends at the show. I have a friend named Hannah that I met this past year at riding lessons. We got to go to Equine Affaire in Ohio this past spring and exhibit Walking Horse for all the visitors to see. 

WHR: Who is your trainer and tell me what he or she is like?

Grace: My trainer is Allison Thorson. She trains me and my horse! Allison is smart, very hard-working, and knows a lot about horses and riding. She has tons of energy and is nice to everyone. 

WHR: What has been your most special moment in the show ring?

Grace: I have 2 - one was being named Reserve Leadline World Grand Champion on Rascal Flatts when I was 5. The other was winning my first blue ribbon on El Tecate in the Youth Country Pleasure class at the Walking For Angels Horse Show.  

WHR: What’s your life like outside of horses?

Grace: My hobbies include swimming, playing with my new puppy, basketball, and dancing. I just started 6th grade at The Webb School in Bell Buckle. When I grow up, I want to be a veterinarian. 

WHR: What is one new thing you would love to learn?

Grace: I want to learn to play Lacrosse.

WHR: Who is someone you admire and why?

Grace:  I admire my parents because they work very hard and take good care of our family.

WHR: If you could have dinner with someone famous, who would it be and what would you have for dinner? 

Grace: Taylor Swift. We would have steak.

WHR: Who is your favorite American president and why? 

Grace: Donald Trump. He wants America to be great again!

WHR: What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone brand new to the horse show world?

Grace: Don't worry about what color your ribbon is.  Judges have different opinions sometimes.  Just ride to have fun and enjoy all the new people you meet. 

WHR: What is one of your goals for the upcoming year in regards to horses and beyond?

 Grace: I want to learn equitation and learn to canter. I'll be working hard to make the honor role at school this year and to house train my puppy. 

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