LeBlanc, a 15-year-old freshman at Abbeville High School, has earned a trip to the world show the past two years by earning a certain amount of points at statewide shows. When she went to world, however, LeBlanc and her horse were limited and she did not make it out of her pool.
This year, after a long discussion with her parents, Carl and Connie LeBlanc, Alex wanted to step up her ability by trying to qualify for the world show on the national level. Another reason why she was ready to move to the next level was because of “DD”, an eight-year old mare they purchased from Florida. The horse was trained to take her to the next level.
However, the next level meant traveling to 17 different shows in Florida, Texas, Mississippi and throughout the South in hopes of earning qualifying points to make it to world.
“I wanted to be nationally qualified because the judges know that,” Alex said. “They see how hard you work and it is a big deal to be nationally qualified.”
Well, the decision to spend weekends traveling six to eight hours and sleeping in a their horse trailer to compete in national shows throughout the south paid off for the 15-year-old.
She just recently earned enough points by winning overall showmanship and trail at a show in Mississippi to put her over the world qualifying mark.
Alex, her family and trainer Tina Miller will be heading to Oklahoma City in August.
There will be just over 130 young riders from all over the world competing for the crown of world champion. She does have an outside chance of winning world because she of how well the two have competed as a team.
“When you are nationally qualified, you know you can compete against the best,” Miller said. “When you are nationally qualified, you have been with the best and you know you can compete with them.”
The experience she developed this year by going to the big shows will prepare her better for world.
“I will be more confident,” Alex said. “Last year I was nervous because I had an older horse. Sometimes the horse did not want to do, so I had to make him. This year, I have a very good horse that I love.”
The key to placing well is by performing well in front of the handful of judges who will be judging Alex and DD riding around the in the arena. She has a one-of-kind outfit that will set her apart from the rest of the field. A nice hat and boots will also be looked at by the judges.
Despite if you or your horse is having a bad day, Alex said judges can’t see it.
“You have to show through whatever,” said Alex. “Your horse can be acting crazy, and you can not give up. They want to see you show through it. You want to make the best impression that you can. You want to show that you can control your animal without losing your temper.”
In the end, win or lose, Alex knows that throwing a fit and getting mad is not going to help her for the next show down the road. She said you can never let a judge see you upset because it will cost you points.
While Alex is a long shot to win the world show, she would love to hear her name called over the loudspeaker.
“It is not about just winning,” she said. “If you did your best, I am happy. At a big show if you hear your name called out in the top 10, you are super excited.”
Taking home a top 10 finish at world would make Alex, Mom, Dad and Miller very happy.