As summer came to a close, Oakdale High School senior Paige Barton made the most of it. Her final five weeks of summer break were spent taking top honors in multiple horse reining events statewide.
The 17-year-old began riding horses at the age of six and picked up the sport of reining approximately five years ago.
“I loved horses and animals since I was itty-bitty, and that’s when I really started to show interest in horses and riding. My mom got me horse (riding) lessons when I was young at Shady Lawn, so I guess you can say that’s how I began my journey,” recalled Barton.
Barton and her six-year-old quarter horse, Gator, dominated the reining circuit this summer. The duo took first place in Palo Alto’s Reining by the Bay, earning the title of Champion in the Youth 14-18 division; title of Reserve Champion in the rookie level division one; was crowned Gold-N-Grand Summer show champion in Rancho Murrieta and she also took home the championship in the Limited Non-Pro division, all in the month of July. Barton collected four ribbons, three high score buckles, a throw for her saddle and other prizes for her accomplishments.
“It takes a lot of patience and a reliable horse to win. I have done so well with him, in such a short time. Gator and I just started together in February. I have my best results since he and I got together. My trainer of five years, Raelene Mayfield, has been part of our success too,” said Barton on her impressive July run.
Although school has begun at OHS; Barton has never had a problem balancing both her academics and her reining. This will be the first year she does not take Advanced Placement (AP) classes so she can get more involved with school activities, community events and possibly get a job. Her post high school plans including striving to attend Cal Poly where she will major in animal science with a concentration in Equine Science. From there she would like to attend a graduate school at Texas A&M for veterinary practice. After completing her schooling, she would like to open her own veterinary office in Maui, Hawaii.
“We are very proud of her dedication and perseverance. To see her compete in big shows over the summer and do so well, was very exciting,” said proud mom Lisa Barton on her daughter’s accomplishments.