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Youth Spotlight: Jessica Lawwell

(Editor’s Note: The following Q&A took place between Walking Horse Report Editorial Director Sadie Fowler and Jessica Lawwell, daughter of Beth and Josh Lawwell of Shelbyville, Tennessee.)

WHR: Tell us about yourself.

My name is Jessica Lawwell. I am 13 years old and live in Shelbyville, Tennessee. My hobbies are basketball, cheering and riding horses. God is first in my life, then my family. I have a nine-year-old brother, Johnathan. I also love going to the lake and going shopping. 

Tell us about your journey into the horse world. How did you get started and what has riding taught you?

I have been raised up in the horse world. My first trail ride was when I was eight months old with my mom, Beth. I started showing leadline when I was three, then by myself at age five and won numerous ribbons in spotted and walking horse shows. At age seven I won the 11 and under novice championship. I still show both breeds and I will be contending in 12 to 14 equitation this year. Riding has taught me a lot but most of all it has taught be responsibilities. 

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

The beauty of the gait.

Who is your favorite horse of all time and why is this horse so special?

My favorite horse was Criminal Minds. He was my first horse and taught me a lot. 

What do you most enjoy about the show horse world in terms of the new experiences it has brought you and the friendships you’ve made as a result of it?

I have made a lot of close friendships through the show industry. I get so excited when my friends come in town for shows and we hang out together. 

Who are your trainers and what have they taught you as a student of riding? 

I have had numerous trainers and instructors and they have all taught me something different in different ways. But my number one trainer is my Papa Ron (Ronal Young). He’s my all-time favorite and I love him so much. 

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

Winning at the Celebration in 2012.

What is your life like outside the horse show world? What do you want to do for a career when you grow up?

I am a little social bug. I’m involved in numerous activities in school and at church. I love outdoor hobbies, camping, hunting, etc. I’m in eighth grade and my dream job is going to school to be a anesthesiologist. 

What is something new you wish you could learn?

To speak another language.

Who is someone you admire and why?

My Papa Ron, because he is a very strong person who never gives up.

If you could eat dinner with someone famous who would it be and what would you eat?

Lawwell: Luke Combs — sushi.

WHR: Who is your favorite American president and why?

Lawwell: Donald Trump, because he makes America great again.

WHR: What advice would you give to someone new to the horse show industry?

Lawwell: Never give up.

What are your goals for the upcoming year, in and out of the show ring?

Lawwell: To give my 110 percent in the equitation class and to get through my eighth grade year. 

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