CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sofia Rashid recently joined an elite club. The young equestrian earned the title of 9-year-old walk and trot equitation world champion in August at the World Championship Horse Show in Louisville.
Sofia, who turned 10 since the competition, won riding her horse Sweetie. She took the honor in stride.
"I thought I did pretty good, and would at least ribbon. I didn't believe it at first," she said.
In equitation competition, riders maintain strict control of their bodies and the horse they ride. They're judged on body control and control of horse, correct form and poise and attire. Riders wear a regimented costume of special pants, shirt, tie, vest, jacket, gloves and hat. Sofia picked the fabric for her green habit trimmed in peach from a tiny swatch, said her mother, Stacy Rashid.
Sofia, of South Charleston, has been riding and training at Meadow Dream Farm, in Nitro, since she was 4 years old, and began to take "serious" lessons when she was 5. She's the first world champion to come from Meadow Dream Farm, owned by Georgia and Jimmy Morrison.
"This is very special for us. She's our first world champion, and she started with us and hasn't trained anywhere else. To have someone from this little barn in West Virginia win a division is something," said Georgia Morrison.
Riders qualify to compete in the annual world championship competition by winning at other shows throughout the year. Sofia typically competes in about 16 shows a year, eight in Winfield and others in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.
The competition was the first time she'd competed at the Equitation level after graduating from the Academy division in January, when she also acquired and began training with Sweetie.