Elizabeth Hayes has been riding horses all her life. At this year's Union County Fair, she rode all the way to victory.

Elizabeth Hayes has been riding horses all her life. At this year's Union County Fair, she rode all the way to victory.

She is this year's grand champion of junior versatility, showmanship and horsemanship. Her victory in Horsemanship is a repeat of last year. She also placed in all events she was involved in at this year's fair, including western pleasure, hunter under saddle and jumping.

Last month, she went to the Pinto World Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she was a "world finalist" at ninth place.

Elizabeth was very young when she first got in the saddle.

"I started riding as soon as I could sit up," she said. Elizabeth was five when she got her first horse -- Goldie, a tan-bodied mustang with a black mane and tail.

Hayes, a Raymond resident, will be a freshman at Marysville High School this year. She said she loves spending time with her current horse, Jetsie.

"Her horse is everything to her," Her father, Tim, said. "She loves Jetsie but is also very business-like when working to train her. Jetsie is a means to a bigger purpose in Elizabeth's life."

"I want to be a horse trainer," Elizabeth said.

She's already on her way: Elizabeth already has three clients. She trains both the horses and the riders.

She said she goes directly to her clients homes to train them.

"My mom drops me off or they pick me up," she said.

Elizabeth said if horse training doesn't work out, her back-up goal is to become a veterinarian.

Elizabeth's love of horses stems from her mother, Laurie, who refers to horses as "big, sweet animals." Laurie works with young horses for a major breeder near Marysville, Tim said.

"They are probably the closest mother and teenage daughter I know," Tim said. "Elizabeth always writes on cards and notes that she doesn't know what she would do without her mom."

Elizabeth agrees.

"We're always together and she's my best friend. It keeps us very close and we travel together to shows all the time," Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth said she loves riding because of the challenge.

"I don't have my own trainer. I'm not just sending my horse to the trainer and then getting on," she said.

"Not a lot of other people do it," she said. "Most people do sports and don't do horses, so I think it's cool I show horses because it's different."

Elizabeth has two brothers: Ryan and Josh.

Ryan, 15, follows his mother and sister and enjoys riding. Josh, 18, prefers to sit and watch, Tim said.

Elizabeth isn't done with fairs yet this year. She'll compete in western riding and western horsemanship at the Ohio State Fair.