Horse Week: An American dream for Co Down boy preparing for World Youth Games in Texas

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​A 12-year-old boy from County Down has been named on a team of local riders who will represent the UK at the World Youth Games in Fort Worth, Texas, next month.

​Zac Hanna, a pupil at Saintfield High School, is the youngest participant and the only boy selected for the UK or Irish team.

Zac is joined on the team by fellow Northern Ireland riders, Emily Blair from Co Londonderry, Holly Barr from Co Antrim and Jessica Dunlop from Co Londonderry.

The event is run by the American Paint Horse Association, and is open to young equestrians aged 12-18 years old.

12-year-old County Down boy Zac Hanna is the youngest participant and the only boy selected for the UK or Irish team taking part in the World Youth Games in Texas. (Pic: Freelance)12-year-old County Down boy Zac Hanna is the youngest participant and the only boy selected for the UK or Irish team taking part in the World Youth Games in Texas. (Pic: Freelance)
12-year-old County Down boy Zac Hanna is the youngest participant and the only boy selected for the UK or Irish team taking part in the World Youth Games in Texas. (Pic: Freelance)

The event consists of ranch riding, showmanship, hunt seat equitation and horsemanship.

Each team is made up of four young riders, with one of them selected for each of the disciplines.

Zac will compete in the hunt seat equitation event, with Emily taking part in the horsemanship competition, Holly representing the UK in showmanship and Jessica competing in the ranch riding section.

There are 11 teams participating from all over the world – Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Neatherlands, Scandinavia, the UK and USA.

Zac Hanna will represent the UK in the hunt seat equitation discipline. (Pic: Freelance)Zac Hanna will represent the UK in the hunt seat equitation discipline. (Pic: Freelance)
Zac Hanna will represent the UK in the hunt seat equitation discipline. (Pic: Freelance)

The coach and selector is Crysta Brown and Chef de quip is Don Beard from the USA.

Horses will be allocated to the young riders on arrival.

Zac is preparing for the games alongside competing on his two ponies and in Children on Horses with Showjumping Ireland.

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