Eastern Kentucky University student Larken Jones became the Amateur Stake Race World Champion at the 2016 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show, held recently in Oklahoma City.
Jones, a pre-vet major from Richmond, and her mare, Excitabull Lady, competed against horses and riders from Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas.
To qualify for the championship, riders must accumulate points based on placing at AQHA events throughout the year. Jones qualified for four events this year: amateur stake race, amateur pole bending, senior pole bending, and amateur barrel racing. With Excitabull Lady, Jones placed 1st (of 15) in amateur stake race and 6th (of 32) in amateur pole bending. She also placed 4th (of 48) in amateur barrel racing on a different horse, Time on the Money.
Jones has been riding since she was 8 years old, and competing since age 9. As a Richmond native, Jones attended EKU so she could continue riding and caring for her own horses. “I get to live at home with my animals and my family,” she said.
Her love for her horses carries over into her classwork as a pre-vet major as well. “I chose pre-vet because I’ve always had a love for animals and wanted to care for them since I was young,” she said. “I want to be able to care for sick and injured animals and see the happiness on their owner’s face.”
Dr. Andrea Sexten, Jones’s pre-vet adviser, praised her student. “Larken is talented in and out of the classroom,” she said. “She balances a tough schedule of classes while also working at Meadowbrook Farm. I have no doubt that Larken will be successful in anything that she sets her mind to.”
Fellow agriculture professor Dr. Carla Hagan agreed. “We have so many agriculture students that ride, and some compete, but Larken is the first agriculture student I know of to achieve at this level. She does a fantastic job of balancing her training, competition, farm work and our classroom expectations.”
For more information about the EKU AG Pre-Vet program, visit www.agriculture.eku.edu.