Pee wee racer achieving beyond his years
AT THE age of six, Maidenwell's Hayden Sanford has proved he is one to watch, scoring results beyond his years in 2018.
The Tanduringie State School student is a champion peewee led barrel racer and champion peewee led pole bending.
He competes in National Barrel Horse Association division nine, Western Downs, events across Queensland.
This is a stand-out achievement for Hayden against riders up to four years his senior.
Barrel racing is a family affair for the Sanfords, with dad Michael and mum Karli qualifying to compete at the world championships in 2019.
Hayden has aspirations to follow in his parents' footsteps and compete on the world stage in the future.
"My big dream is that I want to be in the men's division and knock Dad off the podium,” he said.
"I want to go to America and ride over there, keep going with barrel racing.”
Hayden competes in the peewee division alongside his sister, Summer.
At home Hayden works with his horse, Delta, feeding, grooming, riding and even shovelling poo.
Having Hayden caring for his horse in and out of the ring is important to the Sanfords and they believe it contributes to his success in the ring.
"One thing we really promote is that they can be proud with the work they put in themselves racing because they know how much effort they put in at home,” they said.
In addition to practising navigating the barrels, Hayden goes on trail rides.
Hayden is willing to give anything a go and one of his highlights this year was competing in a feature race, where competitors had to race around a barrel and pick up a soft-drink can.
He was the only peewee rider to take part and his willingness to race is a reflection of his love for the sport.
"He goes out and smiles the whole way through and is stoked to do what he loves,” Michael said.