Girl wins Lions gymkhana award with her horse

Laya MacIver, left, and her aunt Jessica MacIver show off their championship buckles won at the Lions Club gymkhana events held over the summer. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

A young equestrian has captured the Pee Wee gymkhana championship for the 2020 season.

Eight-year-old Catalaya MacIver, called “Laya” by her loved ones, earned the recognition with her quarter horse gelding Pudge.

The Lions Gymkhana consists of seven months of competition from May through November.

The club holds three events each month, including keyhole, pole bending and barrel racing. The best times earned determine the winners.

This year’s season buckle winners are Dicen Freel in Lead Line, Laya MacIver in Pee Wee, Cami Castro in Intermediate Juniors, Kinsey Cirivello in Juniors, Jessica MacIver in Seniors and Maria Castro in Old Timers.

Laya’s grandfather, Craig, has been a team roper for decades. He got the family’s children riding and roping when they were young, taking them to events almost every weekend.

Pudge is used as a team roping horse as well as Laya’s gentle and willing mount.

“Her aunt Jessica has been a big part of getting Laya riding at a super young age,” her grandmother Katherine MacIver said. “I can remember her in the saddle when she was just three. She’s the highest ranked reader and math student in her class, too. This makes her great-grandmother super happy since she’s a retired teacher.”

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at