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Youth Spotlight: Leonarado Fuentes

Twelve-year-old Leonarado Fuentes caught up with Arabian Horse Life to tell us a little bit more about his love of Endurance and the special Arabian horses in his world. Leonarado juggles his passion for Endurance riding with National-level Track, as well as competitive Soccer. His love for the sport and his Arabian horses shines through in his interview.

(Emma) Tell us about yourself?

(Leonarado) My name is Leonarado. I am 12 years old and live in Prairieville, La. I do Endurance rides on our Arabians Leo and Raj and experience challenges on the trail which make it fun. You never know what you are going to encounter whether it is a creek crossing, wild animal, or just being out in nature. I love Arabian horses because they truly want to be with you and never quit on the trail.

(Emma) Who are the special Arabian and Half-Arabian horses in your life, and why?

(Leonarado) Leo is my six-year-old Polish Arabian. He came from Boisvert Farms, which specializes in English Pleasure, but he loves the trails so much more than the arena. He is very sweet to everyone he meets and always gets me safely through every ride. We have done multiple 25-mile Endurance rides and won high vet score recently (this means out of the Top Ten finishing horses, he was the most physically fit disregarding finish time or weight carried). His registered name is Rizing Motion BF.

Raj is our family’s eight-year-old Egyptian Arabian, originally from Colthill Arabians. He was destined for the Halter show world but injured himself in the pasture and was left with a scar. He found his way to us and even though he loves people, he has some funny quirks! He likes to stand with one foot in the air, and jump imaginary obstacles in the pasture. His registered name is Justice For Thee Raj. I have ridden him in several 25-mile Endurance rides.

(Emma) What are your goals short term, and long term, with the Arabian horse?

(Leonarado) My goal this year is to improve my horsemanship and riding skills. If you ride poorly, it can definitely affect your horse’s performance and even cause you to not finish a ride. I also want to move up to 50-mile rides on Leo.

My long-term goal is to do a 100-mile ride in one day. I am hoping that Leo or Raj has what it takes. We will have to train hard for the next few years to make this happen and I am ready for the challenge.

(Emma) What would you say to someone your age who is thinking of making an Arabian his or her next horse?

(Leonarado) I believe Arabians are the best horses to own because they will choose you over another horse. They have heart and never stop trying to do their best for you.

(Emma) Parent/Guardian, what has your experience of the Arabian horse as a Youth/Family horse been? Would you encourage other families to select the breed for their children/youths and why?

(Heather ‘Flash’ Accardo - Leonarado’s Mom) I am so proud of Leonarado’s compassionate nature and love for his horses. They teach him responsibility, kindness and determination. Our horses take special care of my son when he climbs aboard, but also challenge him enough to constantly improve his horsemanship skills. I absolutely believe that the Arabian breed is the best choice for a family. Not only is their beauty incomparable, but their charisma, intelligence and craving for human companionship make them a perfect fit as an all-around family horse.

Endurance is undoubtedly a challenging sport, and one in which our Arabian horses excel. Travelling long distances through varied weather conditions and terrain, all while safely carrying a youth rider, is an amazing testament to the heart of our horses.

Good luck Leonarado with all your goals. We can’t wait to hear about your future rides and continued adventures with your Arabian horses!

You can keep up with Leonarado, Leo, and Raj by connecting with his mom on Facebook.

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