West Michigan girl takes home a big win at horse show

Posted at 4:52 PM, Nov 18, 2016

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It's like the World Series, but for horses.

The All American Quarter Horse Congress is one of the largest breed shows in the world with more than 17,000 entries.

One of those entries, a West Michigan teen, ended up taking home a big win.  East Rockford Middle School 8th grader Peyton Baxter had been dreaming of a Congress win since she was little, but actually hearing her name announced as champion was a dream come true.

It's a championship title she says her friends at school don't understand.

“I don’t think they know how big of a deal it is, though.”

Baxter doesn't care that her friend's don't really know what a Congress win means, she's just honored to take home the trophies.

"A lot of people work towards this. It's life goal and I just did it."


A life goal for people like her trainer, Mary Luther, who has finished in the top ten in nearly every division, but has yet to take home a Congress win.

“I’m so appreciative that they get to experience that honor and then drag me along with it," explains Luther. "Because everyone knows it takes a village and a team, so everyone involved is pretty excited.”

horse-hugA big part of the win is the horse Peyton was on, Sugar Ray.

“He is a big friendly giant," Baxter explains. "He is like 17 hands, very nice and sweet and I taught him how to give me hugs.”

He's a sweet 1,500 pound animal in the barn, but a force to be reckoned with in the show pen.

Luther says, “He’s very talented. He knows what to do, he has very little resistance and he really likes his people.”

Don't grab the checkbook just yet though, Sugar Ray isn't for sale.

“I don’t plan on selling him ever," Baxter says.

That's a smart move for Peyton too, because not only did Sugar Ray help her secure the All American Quarter Horse Congress Champion title, but with him she is currently leading the country in Rookie Equitation for all ages.