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Jefferson girl reins in spot on UGA equestrian team
Kristy Barrett signs letter of intent with college in Athens
Kristy Barrett competes in the NRHA Futurity in Oklahoma City, Okla. Barrett qualified to compete in the North American Affiliate Championship at the beginning of the month.

Kristy Barrett has received top billing on the Facebook welcome page for the University of Georgia equestrian team.

The Heritage Academy senior is among the 14 riders who signed for the 2016-17 season.

Georgia equestrian head coach Meghan Boenig made the announcement last month Barrett was among those who have letters of intent to continue their riding careers and education at UGA.

“We’re very excited about this recruiting class,” Boenig said. “Having recruited early and signing 14 great riders, this freshman class is extraordinary for Georgia coming in. They have the combination of academics, athletics, great attitude and Bulldog loyalty that is outstanding and will breed many things for a successful future.”

UGA coaches said Barrett brings an impressive resume to Athens as a North American Affiliate Qualifier, as well as a Reserve Champion of Affiliate Regionals Novice Norse Nonpro who finished seventh in Affiliate Regionals Rookie I. She also placed first in Novice Horse Nonpro and Rookie I.

Barrett is the daughter of John and Natalie Barrett of Jefferson.

“We are thrilled to be adding Kristy to our roster,” assistant coach Laura Brainard said. “Kristy has the show experience, talent and skill sets to be a very successful Georgia equestrian athlete. Through her years of showing, she has received several outstanding NRHA accomplishments.”

Kristy Barrett currently trains with National Reining Horse Association professional Herm Sherwin, who has developed several great collegiate riders.

“I look forward to her contribution here at the University of Georgia,” Brainard said.

Sherwin said Kristy Barrett has grown in many ways during her riding career.

“She has become a strong competitor over the years and is a very upstanding lady to all her friends and all the people around her,” he said.

The UGA coaches aren’t the only one looking forward to Barrett joining the team.

“(I am) super excited,” the high school senior said. “I have always wanted to go to UGA.”

While training with Sherwin, she met some of the members of the UGA equestrian team. She said it helped her with her showing career.

Barrett’s parents had horses when she and her two older sisters were growing up, but she is the only sibling (she has a younger brother, John) who actively pursues her equestrian hobby.

Barrett began showing horses at age 4 and “it’s gone from there,” she said.

The Barretts currently have three horses at home, and her show horse is placed at the Watkinsville barn of her trainer, Sherwin, who has trained her since age 13.

Her mother said Kristy went through a couple of trainers before finding the perfect match with Sherwin.

“Herm is a really great guy and a great trainer,” Natalie Barrett said.

Reining became Kristy’s focus at age 13, and attending UGA and continuing her involvement as an equestrian has always been her dream.

“I like the city of Athens, and UGA has a really good program in athletic training,” said Barrett, who anticipates she will gain work experience with a sports team after college and hopefully work in a sports medicine office environment.

She has invested lots of time with horses by caring for them in between practices and competitions. She said she likes sports and plans to become an athletic trainer and work in sports medicine. She considered nursing but determined that athlete training would better combine her two interests. Her involvement in extracurricular pursuits helped her develop a work ethic and learn to balance her time, but she is committed to her studies as well.

For the past two years, she has attended Heritage in Braselton, which is uniting with North Georgia Christian School in South Hall County to form Lanier Christian Academy for the 2016-17 school year.

“It’s like a college environment,” said the modest teenager who describes herself as happy, quiet, competent and committed.

Barrett was involved with Hall County 4-H for six years and competed in 2014 as a member of the senior horse judging team, which placed third at the 4-H State Horse Judging Contest. She served in leadership roles with the 4-H Horse Club in Hall County.

Barrett also is actively involved at her church, Shadowbrook Baptist in Suwanee.

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