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Shelby Reine- Two Time World Champion

Shelby Reine was up on a horse before she was steadily walking. She was 18 months when she first sat on a horse-- legs barely reaching the sides of the horse's belly. But she had already fallen in love with horses. By 2, Reine was competing.

Today, her riding skills have earned the St. Charles Catholic High School senior a Texas A&M equestrian scholarship.

"I have grown up with horses my whole life. ... At 2 years old, my grandpa, the late Mack E. Reine Jr., bought me my first pony," she said.

At 2, Reine began competing in lead line classes, where her dad walked and ran with her alongside her pony at open horse shows.

She has always had a horse in her life.

"I don't know what it is like not to own a horse, to ride and show them," she said. "I can remember as a little girl, I couldn't wait until I would be tall enough to get on my horses by myself---be old enough to saddle my own horses, take care of grooming them and getting them ready to show."

The young start kicked off a swift ascent through the levels of horse competitions.

By 6, Reine was competing in western pleasure classes at open horse shows and at 7, she started competing in speed events, barrels, stakes and poles. Then at 9, she began competing in reining events.

With reining, Reine knew she had found her niche. She said that reining is where she found her true love of riding. Reining, according to the National Reining Horse Association, "is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch type horse within the confines of a show arena." The riders guide the horses through a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops.

Reine simply excelled at it.

The awards began coming as she reached 12 and was named the grand champion in reining at the Southern Regionals 4-H Horse Show.

"I am thankful to 4-H for the confidence it provided me to pursue my dreams of competing for the title of American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Champion," Reine said. 

At 13, she was the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Reining Champion for the 18 and under class and placed third on a second horse. That same year, she won the 13 and under NRBC (National Reining Breeders Cup) reining class.

"Winning these classes, continued to boost my confidence and determination and drove me to train even harder and raise my goals higher," she said.  

She continued to compete nationally in both National Reining Horse Association and American Quarter Horse Association horse shows and continued to place high in competitions.  

She then set two major goals-- to be an American Quarter Horse Youth World Champion and to earn a scholarship to ride on the elite Texas A&M University equestrian team. 

"My horses and I put a lot of time into training," Reine said.

That time spread out in different areas. She spends a great amount of time training in Whitesboro, Texas with her trainer Sebastian Petroll. 

Showing in horse shows is the time where the horse and the rider can show what they've learned and improve scores from the last show. She has continued to make strides.

In the last two years, Reine has been named two-time World Champion Ranch Riding and world finalist and top 15 and sixth respectively in reining at the American Quarter Horse Youth Association, AQHYA, World Show.

She was also a finalist in World in Ranch Riding. She was a futurity finalist level one at the National Reining Horse Association, NRHA, Futurity and Derby Finalist levels, one, two, three and four at NRHA Derby.

Reine rode a sorrel gelding, Keepyourgunsloaded by He's A Loaded Gun and out of Toodie Star for her second world championship ride and Topsail Oak by Topsail Whiz out of Chicdotoom for her first world championship.

"To be a two-time world champion is beyond my dreams," Reine said.

She grew up dreaming of one day being a world champion, but understood that only a select few reach that mark. That combined with the scholarship crossed both goals off her list.

"I am thankful to my family for supporting me every step of the way. There are no words to express my gratefulness," she said and added: "A special thanks to my grandfather, Mack E. Reine Jr., for sharing his love of horses with me at such a young age. Horses are my first love and passion. I can't imagine ever not riding. I have been very blessed.

Snaring the college scholarship is the crowning jewel of her pile of honors, Reine said.

Reine is the daughter of Mike and Alisha Reine of LaPlace.

Reine's parents marvel at her journey and its rewards.

"Mike and I are beyond proud of Shelby," Alisha said. "She has been motivated, determined and self-driven since a young age. Shelby found a passion in horses and a level of competition in riding that has kept her focused. Riding horses has taught her many life lessons. We have all sacrificed for Shelby to continue to pursue her goals and live her dreams, but it has been worth it in so many ways."

Look out Texans. Here comes a Louisiana lassie to join the Aggies.