Walker Valley High School senior Kyra Petty has signed an equestrian scholarship with the University of Tennessee at Martin.
Petty is the first-ever equestrienne from WVHS to sign a D-I National Collegiate Equestrian Association scholarship.
While at UT Martin, the 17-year-old Petty plans to pursue a degree in health and human performance/exercise science. She then hopes to go into the occupational therapy program with plans to incorporate horses into her OT career by means of hippotherapy with a focus on pediatrics.
Petty began showing with her own horse at the age of 12 in Interscholastic Equestrian Association competition, along with open and 4-H shows with coach Denise Wright-Lineberry.
She took a break from IEA in 2014 to focus on new horses while continuing to show open and 4-H shows with Jennifer Myers. In 2015, she began training with Tom Green, of Tom Green Pleasure Horses in Ooltewah, showing TQHA and continued 4-H shows with Myers.
In 2016 Petty purchased her current ride, a red roan triple registered AQHA, APHA and PtHA gelding named Sure Isa Hot Ride (aka "Ryder"). She continued to show in Tennessee Quarter Horse Association events and 4-H while adding added Tennessee Paint Horse Club and Volunteer State Pinto Organization shows to her calendar.
In 2016, Petty returned to IEA with the Last Lap Ranch Team, coached by Roger and Sandra Elder in Maryville for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. She competes in Varsity Intermediate Horsemanship and Reining.
The expert horseman has received numerous year-end and hi-point titles and awards throughout her show career, with the highlight being a trip to Oklahoma City in July for the IEA Nationals, where she competed with the Top 13 in the nation.
Petty is heavily involved with TC Wranglers Bradley County 4-H Horse Club through hippology (the study of the horse), Horse Bowl, Horse Judging, and Horse Showing, and is a Bradley County 4-H Honor Club and All-Star member. During the 2017-18 season, she has served as IEA Region 4 Western Youth Board representative, IEA Youth Board secretary, T.C. Wranglers Bradley County 4-H Horse Club resident and Bradley County 4-H Honor Club hospitality chair.