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HIGH LIFE / A WEEKLY FORUM FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS : A Stable Environment : Young Show Trainer Is Holding Her Horses--and Whinnying Awards and Ribbons for It


YORBA LINDA — As silly as it may seem, perhaps there was more truth than fiction in the relationship between TV's Mr. Ed, the talking horse, and his owner, Wilbur Post.

OK, so horses can't talk, but that doesn't stop them from communicating, according to Tracy Metz, a 16-year-old show horse trainer.

"I walk outside into my back yard and (my horse) Annie will whinny to me," Metz said. "It is like she is saying hello to me. I view her as my kid."

Introduced to horses and horse competition at an early age, the Troy High School sophomore has since earned enough ribbons and awards to decorate a wall in her family's house.

"When I was little, my best friend had about six ponies that we used to ride all day," Metz said. "When I was 5, my mom bought me my first pony. He (cost) $100 and his name was Petey.

"At age 6, I was in my first horse show--a walk trot with Petey--and we won second place out of 15 (competitors)."

When she turned 8, Metz got her first horse, Miss Raquel, that was shown throughout Southern California and won several championships in the seven years she owned her.

Miss Raquel had to be sold to purchase her new horse, Sheza Winkin Too, known around the stables as Annie.

"I just fell apart," Metz said of parting with Miss Raquel. "It took me over a year to get over it, but luckily I was able to sell her to a loving, 10-year-old girl."

As in any healthy relationship, Metz said, commitment is an essential ingredient.

"I spend about two hours a day tending to horses," she said. "Every day you have to ride like an Olympic trainer."

Metz added that the strong relationship she now shares with Annie would not be possible without effort from them both.

"There have been times when I would fall off Annie and she would stop and wait for me to get back on her."

Metz said that of all the awards she has won, she is especially proud of three.

"In 1986, I was crowned queen in two clubs, the Yorba Country Riders and the Pacific Coast Quarter Pony Assn. We had to do a (riding) pattern (similar to an obstacle course) and take a test on knowledge (as part of the selection process).

"In 1989, for the PCQPA, I won a saddle for having the most points at the end of the year. You had to accumulate points over an eight-show series, and the person with the most points got the saddle."

Her newest affiliation is with the Pacific Coast Quarter Pony Assn.

"In this new club, there is a lot of tough competition," Metz said. "On the youth teams for riders 18 and under, I have made many good friends. We might be competing against each other, but we still manage to maintain close friendships."

Metz's devotion to horses extends beyond her loyalty to her own horse. She teaches three little girls who themselves have recently begun to show horses.

In addition, she just spent five months training Bo's Investment, a 5-year-old quarter horse that is expected to enter her first show in May.

"It feels good to teach, to accomplish something for the owner, the horse and for myself," Metz said. "Plus, I'm making a name for myself. There's a lot of money involved (in horse training and showing)."

Metz is hoping to take Bo's Investment to Oklahoma for the Junior World, a national show for trainers 18 and under.

"If I can make it to the Junior World with Bo, then I will consider (horse training and showing) for a career."

Laura Mutter, 15, is a sophomore at Troy High School, where she is a reporter for the Oracle, the student newspaper, and a member of the Key Club and Future Earth club.

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