A Love of Horses Earns Calli Kaufman National Recognition



By Tom Rohrer

duncan sponsorRecognition for achievement, whether within the family, classroom or local community, can serve as positive reinforcement for our country’s youth.

Receiving national recognition?  That can speak volumes about an individual’s character, regardless of age.

calli kaufmanSuch recognition was earned by Griffin School 8th grader Calli Kaufman.  She was selected for participation in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program.

Kaufman is one of seventeen individuals across to country to receive a foal, a term for a horse less than a year old, through the program.

In late October, Kaufman traveled to Longhorn Cattle Company and Quarter Horse Ranch in Ellensburg to select a horse from a group of two foals provided by the ranch.  Longhorn Cattle Company is operated by the Akehurst family and has been involved with the AQHA breeding program for over fifty years.

The selected horse would eventually be transported back to the Kaufman’s property on Steamboat Island, where Calli will help raise the young foal and document her experiences for the AQHA program.  In the spring and summer of 2014, Kaufman will take the foal to 4-H or AQHA events to show the horse for judging.

After arriving in Ellensburg, Kaufman eventually selected a foal with a registered name of LCC Golden Play Girl, a 2013 Palomino filly.  Along with a chance to participate in a prestigious program, Kaufman, who will call the filly ‘Mouse,’ is thrilled to start a relationship with a new friend and companion.

“Not very often do you get an opportunity at this age to train a young horse.  My mom had a young horse last year, and I enjoyed having him around.  This time, it will be me doing the training, and not anyone else,”said Kaufman in a phone interview with ThurstonTalk.com.  “I get to be the person to help bring it along and form a bond.  I’m very excited.”

calli kaufmanSince obtaining Mouse, Kaufman has taken the filly to a veterinarian for vaccinations and a check-up and began a de-worming regimen.

Growing up on the family’s property with her parent’s horses and mules, Kaufman developed a love for equine animals at a young age.

By the time she was six years old, Calli had her first quarter horse and learned the immense responsibility that comes with owning such an animal.

“I just always loved being around horses and would wake up at 5 a.m. just to brush and take care of them,” said Kaufman, who was the first of the seventeen participants in the youth program to have her monthly report published on the AQHA national feed. “I always do all my school projects on horses if I can.  It’s my main passion.”

A member of the Island Riders 4-H club, which is part of the Thurston County 4-H program, Kaufman travels to Othello annually to live and work on the ranch of a family friend during the spring.

At the ranch, Kaufman is exposed to long work days in a remote location.  Such experiences at the ranch opened her eyes to a different way of life.

calli kaufman horse“You get to see what it was like in the olden days and what it’s like to be out there for 12 hours a day,” said Kaufman. “All you have is what you have on your horse and it’s so beautiful out there.  Being in that environment, I think it teaches you responsibility. You have to wake up, feed the horses and learn how much everything costs.  Horses aren’t cheap.”

While on the ranch in Othello, Kaufman has had some of her more memorable equine experiences.

“We had to go up and over Saddle Mountain when it was snowing and the ground was completely covered. I remember it being freezing, but it was fun,” said Kaufman, the daughter of Gail and John. “Another time we had to push some cows to another ranch and it took way longer than expected. We had to ride back in the dark with only the moon guiding us.  I’ll never forget that.”

Like the horses she has helped raise, Kaufman is no one trick pony herself.  A dedicated student in the classroom, Calli is a member of a select basketball team comprised of youth from the Olympia and Chehalis areas.  She also plays for a club team through the Puget Sound Volleyball Academy.

calli kaufman “It can be difficult balancing everything, but my parents have always helped me out and supported me,” said Kaufman, who has a younger sister and brother. “I just have to wake up early and go to bed late to get everything done.”

More late nights and early mornings are sure to follow Kaufman throughout her life, as her recent success hasn’t appeared to slow her personal drive.

“I know that you have to work hard to be successful and I really think my parents showed me that even at a young age,” said Kaufman.  “But I have the desire to work hard because of my love for horses.  Whether its riding or feeding or taking care of them, I just love being around them.”

Judging by her character and list of achievements, the animals enjoy Calli Kaufman’s company just as much.

For more information on Calli Kaufman’s participation in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program visit this website.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email