Behind the Slide – Ariana DeJong, Canada

“I spend 90 percent of my time out in the barn. They have to come make me leave the barn or I’ll stay out there all night,” said 15-year-old Ariana Dejong.

This Canadian started out riding jumpers but switched to reining horses six years ago, and she’s never looked back. 

“My mom rode, so I was pretty much born in the saddle. I’ve been riding since day one, and I’ve stuck with it. It’s my happy place.” 

Ariana’s mom rode dressage horses and jumpers until she bought a cutting horse. “I ended up taking him and making him into a reiner,” Ariana shared. “My cutter was 20 years old when I started on him. He did not think too highly of reining, but he did it for me.” A dark chocolate palomino gelding called “Chip” is the first true reiner Ariana has ever owned. He’s 14 years old and hovers around 14 hands. 

Registered as White Chocolate Chunk, Chip gets laughed at for his barn name, according to Ariana. That doesn’t dampen the spirits of this duo even a little bit. 

“He’s super fun to ride, he’s a really big stopper, and he can turn really fancy. He always has a lot of heart and tries really hard for me. He’s the kind of horse that isn’t for sale; he’s a lifer.”