Youth 14–18 World Champion

Lane Colston and Jay Lo Lena clinched the 2019 NRHA Youth 14–18 World Championship.

By Megan Arszman

Lane Colston and Jay Lo Lena
Lane Colston and Jay Lo Lena took home the 2019 NRHA Youth 14–18 World Champion title. (Photos by Forever Works)

After earning two NRHA Reserve World Championships in Youth 13 & Under, Ronny Lane Colston finally earned his first NRHA world champion title: Youth 14–18, riding homebred Jay Lo Lena (Peppy Jay Lena x Crisp Dix Olena). 

In the early 2000s, Colston’s father and grandfather purchased a yearling daughter of Smart Chic Olena, Crisp Dix Olena. After his grandfather’s passing and Colston’s birth in 2003, the Colston family stepped away from showing for a few years. When Colston was 7, the family built an arena next to the barn, and horses became a part of their lives again. A little later, the family bred Crisp Dix Olena to Peppy Jay Lena, a son of Peppy San Badger. The resulting foal became Colston’s partner for the 2019 show season—Jay Lo Lena. 

“She could probably have done cow horse, but we turned her into a reiner,” Colston revealed.

After working with NRHA Professionals Elijah McQuerry and Margaret Fuchs, Colston took over showing the mare in youth events during her 5-year-old year. 

“She’s super-consistent and easy to get ready for a show,” he said of the 2014 mare. 

Colston, a sophomore at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, Kentucky, also works with NRHA Professionals Tom and Cade McCutcheon in Texas, who have some of Colston’s horses in training. Colston keeps part of his show string at his family’s home, too.

Colston’s passion is riding and showing his horses, but he admits that shows can be stressful because of his competitive nature. The young rider has learned to balance his competitive streak by riding his horses—including “Lily”—for enjoyment at home in addition to regular schooling rides. 

“I like to ride to relax and have fun—that’s what horse riding is,” he shared. “When I was younger, I wanted to go in and mark the highest score I ever could mark every time we stepped in the ring. But, this year, I learned to be patient, and I learned that if I could stay consistent and mark a 71, I would be good to go.”

That was a hard-earned lesson for Colston. Looking back on his previous attempts at winning a world title, Colston now realizes he might have pushed himself—and his horses—too hard. While he admits that the horses he rode, Chaquita Conquista in 2016 and Dual Spark Jewel in 2017, might have been more naturally talented than Lily, she stayed more consistent throughout the show season than Colston’s previous mounts. 

“In the past, I had a hard time keeping my horse together throughout the year, but Lily actually got better from the beginning to the end of the year,” he explained. “I think that has to do with me not pushing so hard. I also turned her out in the field to be a horse when we’d come home from a show, because I think that’s good for them.”