WASHINGTON, Pa. (Nov. 23, 2011)—She has been riding horses since she was a toddler, and now Washington & Jefferson College sophomore Devin Lally is one of the top U.S. Arabian horse riders in the country.
An English major with a minor in Spanish and communications, the Sewickley, Pa., resident and graduate of Quaker Valley High School finished fourth in the adult amateur category of this year’s U.S. Arabian Horse National Championships in Oklahoma. She was the junior national champion in 2009 and was competing in the 18-40 year old category for the first time.
Lally, 19, and her horse, “Lynyrd Skynyrd,” qualified for the national competition by winning the district and regional competition in Columbus, Ohio, and Lexington, Ken., respectively.
“My mom is a rider, so was my grandfather, and I have been competing since I was seven,” Lally said. “It was an honor to qualify for nationals, but in the finals, my goal was to do my best and not fall off. My horse can be kind of crazy, but he is the athlete.”
Lally said she has nine horses at home and trains in Peters Township. In the competition, judges are looking at a variety of things when all the horses are in the ring taking commands. She feels Lynyrd Skynyrd, whom she has been riding for two years, has an advantage because he is a “pretty horse,” a half-Arabian and half-Saddleback breed.
Lally said her and her family breed and train horses as well. She will begin riding some of the younger horses the family in the event Lynyrd Skynyrd is sold.
“I love the horses and I love riding,” she said. “It has been a passion my whole life and I just keep working on it.”