Wednesday, November 25, 2015 • 04:22

VCHS student wins big at Arabian Youth Nationals

Ryan Melendez serves as a prime example of the youth of the VC community who are great competitors and future leaders who exhibit compassion, empathy, good sportsmanship, and a commitment to excellence.
August 20, 2014
Valley Center High School student Ryan Melendez returned home after successfully competing in the Arabian/Half Arabian Youth nationals in Albuquerque, New Mexico in July.

The Arabian/Half Arabian Youth National Championships were initiated in 1993 and are sponsored by the Arabian Horse Association (AHA). It is their premier youth event. The week-long competition and leadership training, games, contests and rider events include competition in English, western, side saddle, native costume, working cow, dressage, and hunter disciplines. The variety makes this one of the best junior rider events in the nation.

Melendez, who has dedicated a lot of hard work as well as love for his animals, also sports a 4.0 grade point average at VCHS. He has set his sights on attending Stanford University in Palo Alto upon graduation from VCHS and plans on studying and obtaining a degree in law. An avid player and member of the Jaguar Varsity Golf team, Melendez successfully competed this past year while a sophomore and placed in the league playoffs.

Melendez shows leadership qualities, compassion, empathy, thoughtfulness, grace under pressure, and superb sportsmanship, all the while being a fierce competitor. He was instrumental in helping to establish the Youth Sportsmanship Scholarship, which is funded by the Arabian Horsemen's Distress Fund established in honor of young riders and their horses that face extraordinary circumstances during this year's Youth Nationals. During the competition rider Emme Moore and owner Jenny Lau suffered the loss of their horse, Hollywood Toi, in an accident and is a prime example of what I am sure Ryan thoughts were when he had approached AHDF board member Mary Trowbridge a week prior to Hollywood Toi's accident. The Sportsman Scholarship will be awarded during the 2015 Youth National Show to a deserving youth exhibitor.

Melendez, along with his fellow youth riders Emme Moore, Alex Holloway, Rachel Ginter, and Jenny lay will be leading the fundraising efforts. If you would like to contribute to the Sportsmanship Scholarship Fund for further information, please contact Mary Trowbridge at or by calling (860) 488-7074. You may also contact Becky Nash at or by calling (713) 302-8284. All contributions are tax deductible.

Sixteen year old VCHS Junior Ryan Melendez poses with his horses Rocky and Libby with the many awards and trophies he has won. An Avid golfer as accomplished horseman Ryan hopes to one day attend Stanford University to major in law.

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