One thing you can say for Aubrie Wheeler, she’s determined. Especially when it comes to horses. The 11-year-old is doing things that many adult riders only dream of, and she’s doing it with a smile on her face. This year was the first year 4-H allowed juniors to compete at the state level in Horse Judging, and Aubrie, a member of the Unbridled 4-H Club, took home the top honors.
As a sixth grader at Camas Connection Academy, Aubrie has to juggle horses and homework, but that’s nothing new to her. She’s been riding practically since she was born. She competed in her first show and rodeo before she was 2! “My parents and grandparents all rode,” she says, “My mom both showed and rodeo’d in many events. My dad was a bull rider.” A chip off the old block, Aubrie rides bucking calves, along with horses. She does mostly gaming, especially barrel racing and pole bending, along with roping and goat tying. Though she is quick to point out she has done a lot of different disciplines over the years.
“I like going fast, and going to competitions,” Aubrie, who is the daughter of TR and Mamie Wheeler, shares. “I have really good friends I compete with.” She currently has three horses: Vinnie, an 18-year-old red road appaloosa gelding, whose her gaming horse; MJ, an 8-year-old sorrel quarter horse gelding she uses for goat tying and roping; and Big Red, a 29-year-old sorrel quarter horse gelding, who is an ex-heading horse for roping. “He has helped teach me how to rope,” Aubrie says of Big Red.
4-H Horse Judging is not one of Aubrie’s favorite competitions, perhaps because she doesn’t get to ride. In Horse Judging, 4-H members are scored on their ability to assess horses. “I do Horse Judging because my mom makes me,” Aubrie shares. “She thinks it’s good that I can compare conformation and movement of horses.” Being determined and competitive, though, Aubrie adds that she does like to compete. “I was excited to be part of the State Fair this year! It was a big competition with a lot of kids there. I was so surprised and excited that I was able to win!”
In addition to her Horse Judging win, Aubrie also won the Junior Division Golden Horse Shoe award in 4-H this year, which means she was the high point Junior at the Clark County Horse Fair for her educational poster, record book, horse judging, hippology, horse bowl, groom squad, presentation, and two riding competitions.
But she has had plenty of wins in the saddle as well. At just 5-years-old, Aubrie took her first trip to the National POAC (Pony of Americas Club) Congress in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There she ended up Reserve All Around Champion in the 6 and Under division, with two national championships and three reserve championships.
By the age of 8, Aubrie was going strong, competing in the West World POA Show in Colorado before returning to Tulsa for the National POAC Congress. That year she was the 9 and Under all-around champion at both, with 19 World West Class Wins, 1 National Congress championship and 6 reserve National Congress championships. That year she was also the Top Point Earning Youth in Washington state for the POAC. The next year, as a 9-year-old, Aubrie was once again the Top Point Earning Youth in Washington state for the POAC, as well as the Top Point Earning Youth in Oregon for the POAC.
“The last two years I switched to doing mostly Gaming and Rodeo,” Aubrie says. And even a broken arm can’t keep her from competing for too long. “I broke my arm last summer riding bucking calves, so I was off for three months, but was still Top 6 in all four of my events in the Central Washington Ropers and Riders Rodeo Association.”
Finally, this year, she finished first in barrel racing and second in pole bending through the Central Washington Ropers and Riders Association.
What could this incredible youth possibly be doing next? More riding of course! When asked what disciplines she would tackle this next year she said: “Mostly the same, but want to start competing in roping as well. This year I was just learning roping.”
With her determination, we are sure she will do just that.