Mercer County’s Millie Pyles began riding at the age of 11 and started showing saddlebreds nearly a year later. Over the years she has shown in countless shows winning numerous prizes. But none were as big or meaningful as this year’s Kentucky State Fair and Horse Show, where Pyles won a world championship in the American Saddlebred Amateur Park Three-Gaited Mares class.
“When it comes to saddlebred riding this is what many believe to be the pinnacle,” said Pyles on the state fair’s show. “Winning on this stage is what everyone strives for and the prestige that comes with winning here brings some of the top riders from across the nation to compete.”
Pyles first competed in the Kentucky State Fair Horse Show nearly 10 years earlier, but finished a much more modest fifth place. At this year’s show, she faced a field of 14 riders and horses from across the country riding “Just Like That” a mare owned by Antares Farm and Stables in Covington, La. and trained by Stephanie Sedlacko at Wingswept Farm in Nicholasville.
“I felt like we had a good ride,” said Pyles on her and Just Like That’s performance. “I had no clue that we had done well enough to win, but I felt good about the way the mare performed.”