Belita Martinez/Photo by Aileen Prada-Martinez
Macey Martinez/Photo by Aileen Prada-Martinez
BY SAGE FAULKNER
Kids getting to compete on a national level is one of my favorite opportunities and sisters Belita Martinez, 15, and Macey Martinez, 11, did just that in early January. Belita attends Los Alamos High School as a freshman and Macey attends Chamisa Elementary in White Rock, as a sixth grader. Their proud parents are Donald and Aileen Martinez.
The Arizona National Livestock Show reaches clear back to 1948 and features both horse shows and livestock shows for youth and adult competitors. I asked the Martinez sisters about the event and what they got to do. Belita tells me they participated in the horse skillathon and the horse judging. She says the horse skillathon is identifying horse tack, grains/feed, horse breeds and demonstrating proper equine vaccination. The horse judging involved placing four horses in each of the following classes: halter mares, halter geldings and western horsemanship.
Macey says preparing for the national contest involves lots of practice, and they had several practice classes with their team, both in person and virtually. “My sister an I practiced at home. We also arrived a day early to West World in Arizona to practice with our team.”
Belita says that while they compete as a four-person team, they are also competing individually. Their team name is the New Mexico Palomino Exhibitors Association Youth Judging Team. Belita placed third individually in the horse skillathon and their team won their division. In the horse judging she placed second individually and the team placed third. She also got high point Arizona Quarter Horse Youth Association ( AQHYA) individual overall.
Macey placed ninth individually in the horse judging and her team won their division. In the horse skillathon her team placed second. Macey said she really enjoyed the horse judging and the great weather, and swimming in the outdoor pool. She is looking forward to returning next year. She also hopes to add the National Western Stock Show in Denver to their schedule next year.
Belita adds that she is very thankful to get to go. She says her mentor is Jason Turner, the horse specialist at NMSU. “Jason has taken the time to meet with our team on weekends in person and on zoom to get us prepared. He has taken us to the Arizona National the past three years.”
Congratulations to Macey and Belita and the rest of the New Mexico Palomino Exhibitors Association Youth Judging Team! Keep up the good work!