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ASHBA Youth Council 


The Youth Council seeks to cultivate a greater sense of community among young exhibitors, provide a space for them to learn about the breed and promotion, and seeks to provide opportunities to help Council members achieve their goals. 


The ASHBA Youth Council will be comprised of up to 15 individuals from across the United States who have not yet reached their 22nd birthday. 12 individuals will be selected from the 12 regions as set by ASHBA. Each member will represent their region for a two year term. The three (3) additional members will be selected as follows:

1. One member selected as a “Discipline At Large member” – who will serve to represent the breed from disciplines  other than Saddle Seat.

2. One member selected as an “Academy At Large member” – who will serve to represent the Academy division.

3. One member selected as a “Youth Club At Large member” – who will serve to represent the Youth Clubs.

If there is a lack of regional applicants, other applicants can be considered for a state representative position that would assist the overall regional representative on initiatives, projects, and goals.

 Additional Membership Requirements:

a) Members must be active American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association members and have currently or previously been involved with ASHBA Youth Programs.

b) Aged 21 and under

c) Members 18 and older will need to complete the Safe Sport training through USEF.

The Youth Council seeks members who:

  • Will further the mission and purpose of the American Saddlebred Horse and Breeders Association
  • Have a passion for the American Saddlebred
  • Have demonstrated good character and leadership skills
  • Will enrich the experience of other ASHBA Youth members through the goals of the ASHBA Youth Council

Applications for 2024 have closed. Please email with any questions. 


If you have questions, please reach out to the ASHBA office at 859-259-2742 or 


Youth Council Members 2024-2025

Alexa Dahl - Chair - Region 8

My name is Alexa Dahl, and I’m 18 years old. I live in Tampa, Florida. I have been riding since 2012 and grew up in Bobbin Hollow’s academy program. Since then, I have shown in many divisions throughout my junior exhibitor career. The 2024 competition year is my first year heading into the amateur divisions! I have also taken an interest in the breeding aspect of our industry, and currently have six foals that I bred with two mares currently in foal! With the youth council, my goal is to help promote the youth programs to be successful and include academy riders as much as we can to help bring them through the ranks and into performance. I am excited to have a place to foster great ideas and be able to follow through with them! 

Ariana Willenberg - Secretary - MO Rep.

I am Ariana Willenberg and I am 16 years old. I live in Columbia, Missouri. I started taking lessons at High Spirits Farm about 4 years ago and have fallen in love with the American Saddlebred breed and the industry. I have worked my way up to being a senior lesson helper at High Spirits Farm. I also help at horse shows and at the barn. I’m allowed to administer some daily meds to some of our lesson horses, which has sparked my interest in horse health and wellness. I want to go into equine veterinary as my field of study. I am excited to be a member of the youth council as I want to promote the breed and ASHBA Mission Statement within the youth council sharing what I’ve learned about the breed.

Katie Rich - Social Media Officer - Region 4

My name is Katie Rich, and I’m 19 years old. I’m from Dallas, TX, but I’m currently attending the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying chemistry. I’ve been showing American Saddlebreds for ten years and riding for thirteen! I love my 5 horses to death (I have 3 Saddlebreds, a Dutch Warmblood who shows in the 2’3”-2’6” hunters, and a Dutch Harness Horse cross who shows in Roadster under Saddle). I’ve shown in many divisions in my life, but I spent the most time showing pleasure equitation and saddle seat equitation. I’d have to say my biggest personal goal with the council is to spread the inclusion and fun that comes from strong youth programs to my home state of Texas. I had so much fun and learned so much from my previous time on the youth council and I’m so excited to continue to help build up the ASHBA youth programs!

Ella Dallenbach - Region 7 

My name Ella Dallenbach and I’m 15 years old. I live in Louisville, Kentucky and proud to ride at Zubrod Stables. I have been going to the barn since I was two and have been taking lessons since I was six and a part of ZuKru, our barn’s youth club. I’ve been showing in academy since I was seven and moved up to performance this year in the country pleasure division with Chardonnay’s Firestorm. In the past, I have participated in Ribbons of Service and have been a ZuKru summer camp counselor. I am very excited to be a part of the 2024-25 ASHBA Youth Council! My personal goals I hope to achieve during my time as a member is to spread more awareness about the American Saddlebred breed itself. I aim to encourage more youth-based activities at horse shows and conferences for beginners and young kids who have a passion for horses and are just getting started in their involvement in the industry. I look forward to the upcoming year and can’t wait to see the positive impact we can make!

Ashlyn Deaton - Academy at Large Member

My name is Ashlyn Deaton and I'm a thirteen-year-old from Nicholasville, KY. I ride with Wingswept Farm. I have been riding and showing Saddlebreds for the past six years in Academy. During this time, I've achieved a National Champion title and secured multiple regional titles. Beyond competitions, I've gained extensive experience assisting at horse shows, supporting my favorite performance and academy riders at my barn, participating in academy shows, and becoming involved with the American Saddlebred through countless programs such as the UPHA Ribbons of Service, ASHBA Saddle Time, and the Wingswept Youth Club. In this role as the Academy at large member, I aspire to elevate awareness about academy riding and its dynamics, educate my peers about equine health and proper care practices, and foster confidence among young riders.

Lizzy Henning - Region 9

I'm Lizzy Henning, and I’m 17 years old. I’m based in Huntersville, North Carolina, and I’ve been riding with Lenux Stables for seven amazing years. Joining the ASHBA Youth Council is thrilling because I've always wanted to contribute to the Saddlebred community's growth. My focus is on encouraging younger riders to become active in leadership roles and raise awareness about horse illness and disease. Through education, I hope to promote equine health and welfare. I believe that inspiring youth involvement will create a more vibrant and caring community. Together, we can ensure our beloved horses receive the best care possible. I'm excited to collaborate with fellow members and make a positive impact. Let's create a welcoming space for all who share our passion for the American Saddlebred.

Sarah Kirkpatrick - GA Rep. 

My name is Sarah Kirkpatrick, and I am almost 16 years old. I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I am a 5th generation Saddlebred exhibitor. I was raised around Saddlebreds from a young age. I started showing in 12 & under walk trot with our homebred horse, Perfect Sarah. After competing in that division, we leased Cinderella Blues for my first year (showing as an 11-year-old) at WCHS in 13 & under 3-Gaited division, as well as showing Perfect Sarah in Country Pleasure. The following year I was paired with Oh What An Asset. Oh What An Asset and I will always have a special bond as I won my first world title on this mare. I will forever love her and I’m grateful to her for helping me become the rider I am today. I am looking forward to being on the youth council to represent my state and bring more youth activities and involvement to Georgia.

Olivia Mirza - Region 2

My name is Olivia Mirza and I am 15 years old. I live in Tualatin, OR and I ride with Deardorff Stables in Molalla, OR as well as Willow Way Stables in Simpsonville, KY. I am a freshman in high school at Oregon Episcopal School, where I run Track and Field. I have been riding since I was three years old and I have a deep-rooted love for this sport. My involvement originates from the previous generations of my family who loved and owned American Saddlebreds. I am so grateful to have been able to experience so many amazing opportunities within this sport. I love competing in different divisions, and I am incredibly excited for the 2024 show season and beyond. Apart from competing at horse shows this year, I am excited to represent the United States in the 2024 Saddle Seat World Cup. This year it is hosted in December in Parys, South Africa. I am a member of the Five-gaited team and I am so grateful to everyone who has worked to make this opportunity possible. The competition and the preparation have and will continue to make me a better rider, competitor, and horse-owner. With my position on the Youth Council, I aspire to encourage and involve the youth of this industry to develop their skills and feed their love for the sport. Suppose I were to look back at myself five years ago or even less I would have in no way expected to achieve and learn all that I have. Through my accomplishments and challenges, I aim to encourage young riders to chase their dreams no matter how unreachable they seem at times. I want to demonstrate that it is possible to shine in this industry no matter your skill level or ability.

Finley Paul - Youth Club at Large Member

I am 13 years old, and I live in Lexington, Kentucky. I am a performance rider with Brannon Stables in Georgetown, Kentucky and I’m a part of the Brannon Barnsters, the youth club at Brannon Stables. I am very involved with ASHBA and the various youth programs, and other associations involved with Saddlebreds. I am very passionate about promoting the breed because it has become my whole life. I want to be able to help promote the breed and get more involved with the breed through this council term as the Youth Club at large member.

Sutton Paulsen - Region 3

My name is Sutton Paulsen, I am 18 years old and from Cedar Falls, Iowa. I am a swimmer at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. I have been involved with the American Saddlebred industry for eighteen years and it is one of the biggest parts of my life. I have shown at big and small shows across the Midwest and other parts of the country. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be on the youth council team and there are many things I hope to accomplish. I have hopes for the youth council to promote and foster a larger, more educated youth community across the Saddlebred breed. A community that has fun and loves their breed at all levels. I also want to promote a more inclusive Saddlebred industry, which has a place for everyone who wants to succeed, to be able to do so.

Mackenzie Reynolds - TN Rep. 

My name is Mackenzie Reynolds and I am 16 years old. I currently live in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I started riding Saddlebred horses in 2017 at Harris Training and Riding Academy with Will and Brittany Harris. I still ride with Will and Brittany today. I started my career in the Academy division and after winning Academy Nationals, I moved to performance. My performance career started in the 13 and under five gaited division. However, since then I have showed in five gaited, gaited pleasure, 3 gaited country pleasure, and numerous other classes. While showing, I also teach beginner lessons at HTRA and am involved in Brittany Harris’ nonprofit, The Peppermint Equine Project. Both of these things allow me to promote the Saddlebred breed with younger riders and express my love of horses to them. My goals for myself while participating in the youth council is to continue to promote the Saddlebred breed, make new friends, and learn new things along the way!

Jacqueline Schatzberg - Region 1

My name is Jacqueline Schatzberg. I am 14 years old and live in Cave Creek, Arizona. I have been riding since I was 2 but showing Saddlebreds since I was 10. My parents are extremely involved with the Saddlebred industry, so I was practically born into it. During my time in the Saddlebred industry, I have received opportunities to show a multitude of different Saddlebreds in a variety of divisions, as well as showing Morgans, Arabians, and Hackneys. Last year, I had the opportunity to own my first Saddlebred and I fell more in love with the breed! I am also a part of the UPHA Ribbons of Service program and the Mentor program within Ribbons of Service program. Some goals that I have during my term on the youth council are increasing the youth involvement in Arizona. I am so excited to continue to contribute to our youth!

Alyssa Watanapongse - Region 5

Alyssa Watanapongse, 16, is from St. Charles, Illinois and trains with Brittany Balagna at Meadow Brook Stables. She shows her American Saddlebreds in 3-Gaited, 5-Gaited, and Saddle Seat Equitation. As a participant in the UPHA Ribbons of Service Program, Alyssa partakes in fundraising and community service every year. She is proud to have been a member of the 2023 US Saddle Seat International Team that competed in New Orleans and South Africa. Alyssa is excited to explore new ways to show youth the beauty of the Saddlebred breed. She also hopes to provide more opportunities for her teenage peers to get involved with the breed. In addition, she looks forward to expanding her own knowledge about the breed and the industry.

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