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Lady with local ties excels at national event

POSTED: August 5, 2014 4:55 p.m.

Maris Castang poses with Aleutian, one of the two horses she rode in her final youth national horse show recently in Albuquerque, N.M.

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Maris Castang, 18-year-old granddaughter of Statham Councilwoman Gayle Steed, competed in her last youth national horse show last week in Albuquerque, N.M.

Castang, of Newnan, came away from the Arabian Horse Association’s 2014 Youth National with a championship (1st place), a reserve championship (2nd place) and two Top 10 placings. She rode two horses throughout the week-long competition: Aleutian and VF Playing With Fire (nicknamed “Shorty” and “Fire” respectively).

Castang has been competing since she was 6 years old, she said, and she first rode in the annual competition in 2011. She will now move from the “youth” division into the “amateur” division, for anyone 18 years and older.

She said she was “really happy” with her results from last week’s competition.

“Ending my youth career with a championship and a reserve was a really good ending,” Castang said.

Steed, who went to New Mexico with her granddaughter for the event, said Castang won the championship and reserve championship on Aleutian and the two Top 10s on VF Playing With Fire.

“There were 60 horses in (the Top 10s), and you have to go through cuts, because they can only have so many horses in the ring,” Steed said. “She went through three cuts and got to the finals, and got Top 10 in the Country English Pleasure.”

Steed added that Castang’s other Top 10 placing was in her show class, in which there were 48 competitors. She said she was pleased with how well Castang showed at this year’s competition.

Castang trains at Showtime Training Center in Newnan. She owns Aleutian and has been riding him since she was 9 years old. She was 15 when she first rode VF Playing With Fire, who she works with via a lease, she said.

Castang will be a freshman at the University of Georgia this fall and intends to major in mass media arts in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.



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