Eleven-year-old equestrian competitor Addison Lindsey has earned a number of accolades to her name in a very short time, and another could be on its way come April.

Addison, a sixth grader at Teasley Middle School, began horseback riding a little over a year ago, and she already has her sights set on a national championship. She will compete in the upcoming Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals from April 22-25. The championship will feature student riders in grades four through 12 from across the U.S.

A member of the Five Star Hunters middle school equestrian team, Addison qualified for the national competition this month, winning both the state-level and the Zone 4 finals. The Georgia, or Region 11, finals took place at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. The Zone 4 finals took place at Tryon International Equestrian Center in N.C. Addison’s father Jeff Lindsey said that Zone 4 consists of teams from Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Bahamas.

“There are 11 zones in the U.S. and in her first year of competing in the IEA, she is zone champion,” Jeff Lindsey said. “If you compete in your local region and win, then you move on to the zone finals. If you win zone, then you move on to the national championships.”

Jeff Lindsey said his daughter competes in hunt seat, which is a style of forward seat riding. The competition scores riders on control of the horse, posture, hand placement, transitions from a walk to a trot or halt and reverse direction, among other activities. Riders are given an unfamiliar horse and tack on the day of competition.

At the region finals, Addison finished first in four out of the five competitions she competed in. She also earned a sportsmanship award during the region finals in the competition she placed fifth in.

“She’s always had a love for horses, which kick-started this journey,” Jeff Lindsey said. “She wanted to ride and became more interested, so we found the Five Star Hunters Equestrian Center in Canton and she learned the right way to ride, care for the horse, and how to compete. She’s learned a lot and she’s very determined. I’m very proud of her.”

Addison said she is nervous about the upcoming competition, but she is really excited and hopes to make her coach, Lucy Molinari, proud.

Over 400 riders will be represented at the national championships from 1,209 high school and middle school Hunt Seat teams.

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Ethan is a reporter covering the cities of Holly Springs & Canton. He also covers city governments and lifestyle. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University.

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