GREENWOOD – As a baby, Zachary White watched from his playpen as horses trotted around the arena inside his family’s barn.
At 10 years old, he has 22 victories this year showing his Arabian horses. With the hectic schedule of a typical boy – playing on soccer, Little League, football and basketball teams – White fits in four to five riding practices a week and 10 horse shows a year, which take him around the country.
“I get to meet people and stuff,’’ the Greenwood School fourth-grader said, taking a break from a game of pingpong with his 6-year-old brother, Rex, who also is a rider.
Of his family’s 35 Arabian horses, Zachary rides Steamer, Rocky and Jeopardy in the walk/trot division for his age group.
“I’ve been riding Steamer since I was 7,’’ Zachary said, adding that he won two national championships on the horse.
With numerous blankets, trophies and ribbons lining walls, shelves and tables in his home, it’s still a thrill every time he wins, Zachary said.
“It’s still exciting because I’m still one of the youngest ones in there,’’ he said.
With his mom, Lisa Jo White, a horse trainer, instructor and horse show judge, the two travel the show circuit together. In New Mexico, at the Youth Nationals this year, Zachary won four national championships, Lisa Jo said proudly. Zachary’s dad, John White, also a trainer, died last year. Lisa Jo White has kept the family business going and continues to travel to shows with the help of friends. The John White Stables on the family’s property is home to Lisa Jo and her boys.
“When Zach was tiny, we had his playpen set up here,’’ Lisa Jo said near a window in the barn. “He could see what we were doing in the arena.’’
As for her oldest son throwing himself into what always has been her true passion, Lisa Jo White said: “The kid has to want to do this. You’ve got to be completely committed to do this.’’
Aside from bringing the occasional picture of himself on a horse to school, Zachary said he didn’t make a big deal about it.
“A few of my friends know I do this,’’ he said.
At the end of the month, Zachary will compete in the National Show Horse Finals in Springfield and in the American Royal this November in Kansas City.