Few people are able to be successful in what they love, but Anna Claire Tucker is on her way to doing that very early in life.
"I always liked horses, " Anna said. "At the barn – that is where I feel at home."
Anna, now 12, has been training at Redeemed Ranch in Heflin since she was four.
What started as an interest in horses has developed into a love that allows Anna to win competitions.
Anna brought back four ribbons from the 2011 Pinto Horse Association World Show in Tulsa, Oklahoma earlier this summer, and she plans on bringing home more awards this week while at the state 4-H competition.
"I had shown at state and district shows and won second and third in most of them," Anna said. "I wanted to see how I would do against them (World Show competitors), even though I knew I didn't have as much experience as them."
Anna and her horse, Jetta, placed World Top Ten in three events: Youth Showmanship, Horsemanship and Trail. The pair was also named World Reserve Champion in Novice Youth Trail.
"It was very cool to hear a girl from Louisiana called out because all of the other winners are from big places." Anna said of hearing her name announced as a winner.
This week she will compete in the state 4-H show.
"I feel like I am going to do pretty good," Anna said. "I've never done the horse quiz bowl before, but I did (participate in) judging last year and won. So, I feel good about competing again this year."
Anna said 4-H is beneficial to helping her achieve her goals.
"I know I want to do something with horses (later in life)," she said. "So, I always do the horse project book and live stock club in 4-H, as well as compete in the 4-H show."
Anna said she feels lucky to have the support of her parents, coach and friends as she works toward achieving her goals and bettering her skills.
Parents Scott and Robin Tucker showed their support of Anna's interest at a very early age.
"It has been a progressive thing," Robin Tucker said of her daughter's success. "As parents, we want to get behind whatever Anna gets excited about. We tried several other activities, but this is the one thing she never waivered from."
Among others that guide and support Anna are instructor Alan Shaw and friends Abbie Guin and Cameron Shaw.
"There are some challenges to training a horse, and it feels good when you accomplish something with the horse," Anna said. "It is something you can do if you really want to and you will work hard. I'm lucky to have so many people supporting me."