A Lawrence girl will participate in a national Arabian horse competition next week in Oklahoma City.
Erica Goddard has been showing her purebred Arabian horse, Spring Fanci, about two years now at various competitions.
This weekend, she'll have a shot at national honors.
Erica, 13, will be participating in the International Arabian Youth Nationals show in Oklahoma City beginning Sunday.
The event runs through next week, she said.
"I'm really excited," Erica said.
At the competition, she will be among about 200 participants who will ride their horses in front of judges.
Judging, she said, is based on how well riders are able to keep their animals under control during trots and gallops.
"They want your horse to have a headset on, and they look at how your horse moves," she said. "Most of these horses are really scared at everything around them. It's really judging how well you can control your horse and how well you work together."
After an initial ride, judges will pick the top 50 riders and horses. They will be asked to return on Thursday. The field will then be narrowed to 10 before a champion, grand champion and other awards are announced.
Erica said she had ridden Spring Fanci, a 17-year-old mare at several regional competitions, including the American Royal in Kansas City, Mo.
But this will be her first national competition.
"At first, we weren't sure we were going to go," she said.
But she said she decided to try this year because it will be the last year she'll be able to compete in the 13-and-under age category.
"The 14- through 17-year-old category will be much tougher competition," she said. "We thought we might as well go down there this year and have some experience."
Erica attends Bishop Seabury Academy in Douglas County.
Each participants in the national competition must have been a top finisher in at least two regional events, she said.
"I couldn't have done this without my trainer, Joy (Underberg), or my family and friends," she said.
Underberg runs the Lazy J Training Center in Baldwin, Erica said.
-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.