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Mackenzie Lyttle Wins Cannon Memorial Scholarship

(Editor’s note: The following presentation was made at the recent Del Mar Charity Fair Horse Show)

Ladies and gentlemen, we will now take a few moments to award the Pacific Saddlebred Association Barbara and Sonny Cannon Memorial Scholarship. Established in 1995, this scholarship is offered in tribute to our friends and fellow horsemen, Barbara and Sonny Cannon. Barbara was one of the founding members of the Pacific Saddlebred Association and has been editor-in-chief of the PSA Newspaper. Her husband, Sonny, was one of California’s most prominent breeders and trainers for over 60 years.

The scholarship is awarded annually to a rider between the ages of 12 and 17 who best combines the attributes of passion for Saddlebreds, good sportsmanship/leadership and experience riding and showing Saddlebreds.

The winner receives a one-week trip to a camp of a nationally recognized instructor in Kentucky. The 2005 winner will attend camp under the direction of Rob and Sarah Byers of Premier Stables.

Entering the ring now is the 2005 scholarship winner, 16-year-old Mackenzie Lyttle, daughter of John and Janet Lyttle of Huntington Beach, Calif. Mackenzie is riding the beautiful Saddlebred, Mille Grazie, owned by Carolyn Melka. Mackenzie rides under the direction of Anne Speck of Rancho Del Mar.

Anne Speck remembers Mackenzie riding since before she could walk. One can honestly say that Mackenzie has ridden her whole life. For those of us who have been in California for a while, we have been watching Mackenzie show since she was about 6 years old. She began on a little pony named Rowdy. Rowdy definitely lived up to his name and as most ponies can do, providing Mackenzie many good “riding lessons.”

Since her beginning days, Mackenzie has ridden and shown a number of breeds but says she prefers Saddlebreds because they are kind, versatile, easy to work with and have that “I’m Special” attitude. Mackenzie showed her first Saddlebred when she was seven and has continued showing in equitation, three-gaited and pleasure. Mackenzie likes equitation because of the challenge of workouts and keeping perfect form at all times. But, she also likes the challenge of presenting a horse to its best in a performance class. Mackenzie has been the recipient of championship ribbons too numerous to name.

Mackenzie is an all around “horseman.” At horse shows you will often find her helping ready her own horse or that of a friend. For the past two years she has been a counselor at Rancho Del Mar summer camp. She is a “big sister” to many of the younger riders at the barn, helping to teach the basics of horsemanship.

If you want a project accomplished, just call Mackenzie. She has boundless energy for helping others. For the California Futurity, she excels in raising money from the sale of the raffle tickets. She volunteers two days a week at a therapeutic riding school near her home where she built and installed a wooden bridle rack. She, along with her family, sponsors Girl Scout troops to earn their Horse Rider Badges. Mackenzie herself is a Silver Award Cadet Girl Scout, the second highest award within Girl Scouts.

There are so many adjectives with which to describe Mackenzie. But the bottom line is she is a good citizen, a good horseman, a passionate lover of Saddlebreds and a great friend.

Joining us center ring tonight to make the presentation are Mackenzie’s parents, John and Janet Lyttle, her sister, Samantha, her grandmother Frances Goldsmith Hutton, Anne Speck and PSA Scholarship Committee Members, Laurie Servin, Debbie Jones and Suzanne Murphy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as she takes one more trip around the ring, please join me in congratulating the 2005 winner of the Barbara and Sonny Cannon Memorial Scholarship - Mackenzie Lyttle.

Mackenzie leaves for Kentucky and Premier Stables immediately following the close of the horse show. Have a great time and ride hard, Mackenzie!


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